2:20pm

Wed April 6, 2005
Columns

JazzFest 2005 Headliner

Pat Martino is an "Inspiration to Many People"

MURFREESBORO – A jazz guitarist icon by age 18, JazzFest 2005 headliner Pat Martino suffered a severe brain aneurysm in his 30s that robbed him of his memory of his guitar and career.

In 1976, Martino's excruciating headaches led to a devastating diagnosis; he had symptoms associated with aneurysms. Doctors told him his condition could be terminal. After surviving the aneurysm and surgery, miracles by themselves, Martino began his recovery, intensely studying his own recordings. In 1987, he resumed his career, playing a gig in New York.

"Pat Martino's recovery is quite impressive and is an inspiration to many people," Janelee Wise, executive director of Main Street Inc., said. JazzFest has not had a guitarist as a headliner since 1999, she added.

The Pat Martino Quartet, featuring Martino on guitar, Steve Varner on bass, Scott Robinson on drums, and an as-yet-unnamed piano player, will headline JazzFest on the square in Murfreesboro at 7:30 p.m. on May 7, according to Martino's manager Joe Donofrio.

Martino has played professionally since 1961 with a wide variety of artists, toured as a leader since 1967, recorded for various record labels, and given numerous guitar and music therapy seminars at universities worldwide. He currently teaches at the University of the Arts in his native Philadelphia.

Martino will give a clinic the same day as his performance at 3:30 p.m.

For more information visit us at www.mainstreetjazzfest.com


"I love Middle Tennessee, although it's been some time since I've played there," Martino said. "I'm looking forward to playing JazzFest 2005 and working with fellow musicians at my clinic earlier that day.

"The guitar is of no great importance to me. The people it brings to me are what matter. They are what I'm extremely grateful for, because they are alive. The guitar is just an apparatus."

Martino's style of jazz is described at distinctive and "fat," his performances as "gut-wrenching." His next compact disc, which he plans to record on the Blue Note label toward the end of May, will be a tribute to Wes Montgomery, Donofrio said. As a child, Martino would visit the hot-spots in Philadelphia with his father, a singer who studied guitar with Eddie Lang, to hear and meet Montgomery and other musical giants.

The four-time Grammy-nominated guitarist was recently voted Guitar Player of the Year in a reader poll by Downbeat, the premiere jazz magazine.

For more information on Martino, including his discography, visit www.patmartino.com.