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Pat Martino: Formidable (HighNote)

Review of album by noted guitarist and his organ trio, plus horns

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Cover of Pat Martino album Formidable
Cover of Pat Martino album Formidable

When dealing with music, nothing manages to get in guitarist Pat Martino’s way—not the near-fatal brain aneurysm that forced him to have to relearn his instrument from scratch in the 1980s; not the passing fads in sound, style and syntax that have come and gone in jazz over the course of his lengthy career; and certainly not the weight of his 73 years. Martino’s legendary technique and taste remain intact, and this is but one more show of substance from a master musician.

Formidable finds Martino fronting an augmented organ trio: his regular group with organist Pat Bianchi and drummer Carmen Intorre Jr., plus trumpeter Alex Norris and tenor saxophonist Adam Niewood on most of the tracks. It’s a band at once earthy and sophisticated, ably delivering a beautifully ecumenical program that acknowledges standards, Martino’s back catalog and composers deserving of greater recognition, like pianist Joey Calderazzo and the late saxophonist Gerry Niewood.

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