Jazz guitar great Pat Martino has died at the age of 77

One of the greatest virtuoso guitarists in jazz Pat Martino has died at the age of 77. News of his death was announced on social media by his manager Joe Donofrio of Donofrio Productions who wrote that the guitarist died today writing ''His legacy …

Published: 1 Nov 2021. Updated: 32 days.

One of the greatest virtuoso guitarists in jazz Pat Martino has died at the age of 77. News of his death was announced on social media by his manager Joe Donofrio of Donofrio Productions who wrote that the guitarist died today writing ''His legacy is a gift to us all, from the moment he first picked up the guitar to his last day on earth, Pat never wavered from his true calling. Condolences to his wife Ayako Martino.''

Martino (born Pat Azzara) made a remarkable comeback to playing after suffering in 1980 a severe brain aneurysm and undergoing surgery after being told that his condition could be terminal. He had to relearn everything after he recovered and played again to acclaim. Born in Philadelphia, his father Carmen "Mickey" Azzara sang in local clubs and took his son to hear and meet Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane among others and Pat began playing as a young teen. He gigged with jazz organist Charles Earland and Lloyd Price and later moved to Harlem playing soul-jazz with Jack McDuff and Don Patterson then signing as a leader for Prestige recording such albums as Strings!, Desperado and El Hombre . Later in his career he was Grammy-nominated for Live at Yoshi's and Think Tank and soloing on 'All Blues' and 'Africa' among other honours. Tributes online include this from local Philly jazz club Chris' Jazz Cafe: ''It is with great sadness to hear the news of Pat Martino's passing. As one of the first musicians inducted into the Chris' Jazz Cafe Hall of Fame, he was a beloved member of our jazz family. We will miss him and the beautiful music he brought to the club.''

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Greg Abate and the Jack Honeyborne trio, Spice of Life, Soho

Earlier in the year the New England-based alto saxophonist Greg Abate, also playing flute here on this occasion, released a very elegant Kenny Barron-themed album Magic Dance (Whaling City Sound) with Barron, Dezron Douglas and Blue Note artist …

Published: 1 Nov 2021. Updated: 32 days.

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Earlier in the year the New England-based alto saxophonist Greg Abate, also playing flute here on this occasion, released a very elegant Kenny Barron-themed album Magic Dance (Whaling City Sound) with Barron, Dezron Douglas and Blue Note artist Johnathan Blake recording at the greatest studio probably in jazz Rudy Van Gelder's. Over here for an extensive tour with pick-up bands along the way he joked he was like a pin cushion after all the jabs he had to go through to make the trip in these Covid times. This relaxed lunchtime Soho gig was promoted by Richard Pite, the former Boisdale, Belgravia, house drummer, who Abate had just met for the first time he said.

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Dapper pianist Jack Honeyborne, like Pite (above) sporting a handkerchief in his breast pocket, talked later in the break of working with the great Goons star and singer Harry Secombe and how he himself was inspired by Bill Evans. Sometimes listening you'd hear glimpses of Stan Tracey and even Bud Powell. Pite as the gig continued quite often played the drums with his hands which actually was better in certain places than when he used sticks. His work on the hi-hat and ability to respond to Abate's instructions made the time feel work especially as the performance wore on. Jack, in the 1950s was a big band player with Kenny Graham’s Afro Cubists and Nat Gonella as well as later a musical director for Vera Lynn for many years, came into his own the more the band went into deep bebop territory and became almost Bud Powell-like in his approach. 'Yardbird Suite' and 'Parker's Mood' came across wonderfully.

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'I'll Remember April' from Abate's 2016 album Kindred Spirits (an album that also has 'Yardbird Suite' on it) featuring Phil Woods was another significant high point of the gig which ran over two sets interspersed by a short break. Abate also mentioned the late Richie Cole during his brief chats to the audience and later speaking to him he said how much he missed Cole who was a great friend and who died last year. A mellow gig. What a fine instrumentalist Abate is. Catch him on tour. SG

Greg Abate, top left, Richard Pite, Julian Bury and Jack Honeyborne at the Spice of Life. Upcoming dates, part of an extensive run of English dates featuring Abate include this evening in Brockenhurst, then Brentwood, tomorrow, Sheffield on Wednesday, Beckenham on Thursday, Cheltenham on Friday, Plymouth on Sunday, Wilmslow on Tuesday 9 November, Stratford-on-Avon on Wed 10 Nov, Leeds on Thurs 11 Nov, Wakefield on Fri 12 Nov, Stockport on Sunday 14 Nov and Bexley on Monday 15 Nov. Full details: here