Friday, April 21, 2006

Music: Pat Martino - Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery

Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery

Pat Martino

Blue Note 11227


Guitarist Pat Martino’s recording career is bisected into pre-1977 and post-1987. Prior to 1977, Martino lit the sky with seminal recordings that included El Hombre (Prestige, 1967), Footprints (32 Jazz, 1972), and Consciousness (Muse, 1974). In 1976, Martino began experiencing headaches eventually diagnosed as a cerebral aneurysm. While the subsequent surgery saved his life, it was at the expense of the guitarist’s memory. Over the next decade, Martino relearned his craft and has released a string of well-received recordings, mostly on the Blue Note label.

On his new recording, Remember, Martino pays jazz homage to the late Wes Montgomery. He does this appropriately enough with Montgomery’s own book, presented in a swinging, sonic cascade. Joined by pianist David Kikoski; bassist John Patitucci: bass, drummer Scott Allan Robinson, and percussionist Daniel Sadownick, Martino addresses with a precise elegance ten Montgomery classics replete with that guitarist’s signature octave playing. Of note are Carl Perkin’s “Grooveyard” where Kikoski turns in a double-barrel, Gene Harris piano solo and the lopping “S.K.J.” where the pianist shows up again with an outstanding solo.

Sonically, Remember, is superb. John Patitucci’s acoustic bass is respectfully captured and given a very even presentation. Robinson’s drums are well mixed and never overbearing as is Danny Sadownick’s percussion. But it is David Kikoski’s piano that steals the aural show. The notes are perfectly rounded and presented. Martino’s guitar retains the same soft roundness of his previous Blue Notes releases. He approaches Montgomery in a studied precise manner never relenting to the temptation to show off his considerable technical chops. Wes Montgomery is well represented here with very good sound and support.

Track Listing:

Four on Six; Groove Yard; Full House; Heartstrings; Twisted Blues; Road Song; West Coast Blues; S.K.J.; If I Should Lose You; Unit 7.


Pat Martino: guitar; David Kikoski: piano; John Patitucci: bass; Scott Allan Robinson: drums; Daniel Sadownick: percussion.

© Copyright, C. Michael Bailey, 2006