Friday, January 08, 2010

Pat Martino at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, San Francisco, Fri. 11/6/2009

Sorry to be out of sequence here, writing about the Holdsworth et. al. show this week before getting caught up with an earlier show.

Pat Martino has been one of my favorite guitar players since I first heard him on an Eric Kloss album in the early seventies. I immediately went out and got his own Live! album and then pretty much everything else he ever recorded. There are lots of jazz guitar players but something about Pat's feel has always hit me right at the core. His personal story is quite fascinating too; google him to find out about that, and if you're interested try to find the documentary film Martino Unstrung if you can.

The concert was part of the Fall San Francisco Jazz Festival program, a show named "Hammond B-3 organ summit" -- Pat's quartet included the fantastic organist Tony Monaco, and the opening act was another great Hammond player, Larry Goldings, and his trio.

Both groups were basically in the classic Hammond organ trio format - guitar, drums, and the Hammond player doing double duty pumping out bass lines as well as chords, melodies, and solos. (Never mind that Pat's group was a quartet with the inclusion of tenor sax player Eric Alexander.)

Golding's group was great, but suffered from a poor job on the sound man's part - the bass was almost inaudible, which my concert-going partner Dave Workman described as cutting off his -- errr, emasculating Golding's performance. The trio included guitarist Peter Bernstein and the fantastic drummer Bill Stewart.

Martino's group didn't have this problem - Tony Monaco's bass lines were clear, swinging, and had -- errrr, were virile. Drummer Jason Brown was the only player I had not heard of before, and he was excellent. They played for around an hour or so, playing many of Pat's tunes and a smattering of other stuff. Both Monaco and Alexander are very strong soloists in their own right, and Pat was in terrific form. It was a joy and a gift to hear such a great combo playing so well together.

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