pat martino

The late jazz master was not only a deep harmonic genius but could twist your ear with rhythms too.



• Learn how to outline chord changes with motives.
• Develop a sense of “3-over-4” rhythms.
• Understand how to increase tension in your solos.

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With the passing of Pat Martino (born Pat Azzara) on November 1, 2021, the jazz guitar world truly lost a giant. Martino has not only influenced legions of guitarists over a span approaching seven decades, but his prowess on the instrument is highly regarded, and maybe even a little feared, by his contemporaries. It’s awe inspiring to consider what Martino contributed to the music world and how many lives he impacted as a performer, composer, mentor, and educator.
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Photo by RR Jones

Alex Skolnick shares an insightful tribute to the father of modern jazz guitar.

The very first time I heard Pat Martino, I was so mesmerized that I called local Northern California radio station KJAZ (now defunct) to find out who was playing. This was long before we had Shazam and similar smartphone apps that identify music, and if you didn't get through to the station you were out of luck. Fortunately, I did and was told the cut they'd played was from an album called Desperado. I soon bought others I'd seen mentioned in guitar magazines at the time, including The Visit! and Consciousness.

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"There is consonance and there is dissonance," says Martino. "What gives them importance is motion,

and motion has no sound."

Photo by R.R. Jones

Jazz guitar’s resident shaman pulls back the curtain on his latest album, Formidable, and his complicated—yet inspiring—relationship with his instrument.

“It's simply a toy." That's how Pat Martino describes the guitar. For many, he's the father of modern jazz guitar whose pioneering approach has influenced generations of players. But to Martino, picking up his instrument is akin to making morning coffee. He views the guitar as a coffee pot, something that once you know how to use, you stop thinking about. “The guitar has become a significant member of the family," says Martino from his Philadelphia home. “Whenever I need that experience I go back to it, and it fulfills me, and that's all I've ever asked it to do."

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