Guitarist Plays RegattaBy Jorge Padilla
Pat Martino Trio
Friday, November 8, 2001
Please help me welcome to the stage, The Pat Martino Trio!” And with that, the famed guitarist and his trio took the stage and let it rip for almost an hour and a half straight. The end of each tune was followed by a ten second break, leading to another.
Alongside Martino were Byron Landham on drums and, as Martino puts it, “the one and only” Joey DeFrancesco on organ. The performance was nothing short of spectacular, as each band member showed off a tinge of his virtuosity. Each new solo brought to the club a new attitude. The performance was seven memorable tunes long - all diverse and intense from start to finish.
The first tune was a fast-paced, modern swing tune led by Martino on the head and the first few choruses of solo. Martino wasted no time in cementing his style upon the audience. Martino takes a very linear approach to his solos.
That night, as always, he was able to seamlessly connect an array of notes to create a distinct melodic statement. Keeping to the middle range of the guitar, with an occasional high note run, Martino also largely played with improvised riffs in his solos. His ability to play around with riffs was one of my favorite aspects of his playing. It was a beautiful thing to see and hear.
With each new riff came a distinctive expansion by Martino, with the trio catching on immediately. Every time this happened, not only with Martino, the intensity about the club skyrocketed.
I cannot say enough about DeFrancesco, the organist. He was quite different from Martino in that he carried Martino’s musical statements to the extremes. Where Martino was a reserved, middle range cat, DeFrancesco owned the full range of the keyboard. He went from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Starting most of his solos with very sparse ideas, he energized the club as the solo progressed. DeFrancesco subtly stretched out the melodies for in longer intervals until reaching an apex of musical energy that had the club reeling with excitement. In all, He was the master of manipulating the electronic advantages of the organ to better express his ideas.
Drummer Landham was no exception to the greatness of the performance. In fact he made sure the group was moving forward the entire night, never once letting down his guard. He kept a Tony Williams-like energy as he swung hard on the ride cymbal and complimented each of his bandmates’ ideas, taking advantage of every time he and the band traded fours and eights. His drum licks also consisted of the rhythmic ideas previously played by his bandmates.
The music selection also made for a very enjoyably night. The music ranged from slow to fast swing to ballads. He included tunes such as “The Great Stream” from his 1976 New York album, Live.