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.''