The King of Jazz Guitarist Pat Martino

Written By Sonny Akbar Sembada

Hi, my name is Sonny Akbar Sembada and I welcome you to my blog, The Uncle Jazz. The main topic of my blog is everything related to jazz music.. 

The king of jazz guitarist, Pat Martino embarked on his musical journey as Patrick Carmen Azzara on August 25, 1944, in Philadelphia, PA.

His initial exposure to jazz came from his father, who used to belt out tunes in local joints and gave him some quick guitar lessons. Later, he connected with jazz guru Dennis Sandole, and that place was buzzing with future legends like John Coltrane, James Moody, and McCoy Tyner.

The King of Jazz Guitarist and The Jazz Maestro

King of jazz guitarist Martino dove into the professional scene at the age of 15 when he made his way to NYC. He hung out with Les Paul for a bit, played gigs at Smalls Paradise, and then set up shop at the President Hotel on 48th Street. Smalls saw him every six months, and summers were all about Club Harlem in Atlantic City.

Jamming and Recording Sessions

In his early days, king of jazz guitarist Martino collaborated with Lloyd Price, Willis Jackson, and Eric Kloss. He also jammed with organ virtuosos like Charles Earland, Richard “Groove” Holmes, and Jack McDuff.

Youtube video by Palanzana 

Life Throws a Curveball

Health Drama and Memory Wipeout

In 1980, king of jazz guitarist Martino faced a near-fatal seizure due to some artery-vein mix-up. Surgery took a chunk of his brain, and just like that—amnesia struck. He had to relearn everything about his career and guitar skills. Talk about a rollercoaster!

Personal Scoop and Achievements

Love Story and Trophies

In ’95, he tied the knot with Ayako Asahi from Tokyo. Martino bagged awards left and right—Melon Jazz Fest in ’95, NARAS Songs from The Heart Award in ’97, and Grammy nods for stellar jazz albums.

Read also: Leading the Future of Jazz Education: Branford Marsalis

Guitar Hero and Later Years

Readers at Down Beat magazine dubbed him Best Jazz Guitarist in ’04 and ’06. In 2006, they dropped a fresh version of his “East!” album. Classy move!

Legacy and Farewell

Teaching Vibes and Grammy Hopes

Fast-forward to 2017, Martino rolled out an edgy video series titled “A Study of the Opposites and How They Manifest on the Guitar.” Grammy nods kept rolling in for “Think Thak” and “Africa.”

Life Story in a Book and Goodbye

His life story, “Here and Now! The Autobiography of Pat Martino,” hit shelves in 2011. Pat Martino strummed his last chord at the age of 77 on November 1, 2021.

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