Pat Martino Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley
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- Released: October 11, 2011
- Originally Released: 2011
- Label: Highnote
Down Beat - p.803.5 stars out of 5 -- "The shuffle march that drives 'Midnight Special' does its job by hustling everything along, but Monaco's stormy exposition and Martino's fluid romp play havoc with the groove while steadfastly fanning its flames."
JazzTimes - p.50"The quartet opens with the uptempo swing tune 'Lean Years,' the setting for a blistering introductory display of fretboard prowess by Martino."
- 1.Lean Years
- 2.Inside Out
- 3.Goin' To a Meeting
- 4.Double Play
- 5.Midnight Special
- 6.'Round Midnight
- 7.Side Effect
Personnel: Pat Martino (guitar); Eric Alexander (tenor saxophone); Tony Monaco (organ); Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums).
Audio Mixer: Kirk Yano.
Liner Note Author: Bill Milkowski.
Recording information: Blues Alley, Washington, DC (06/26/2009-06/28/2009).
Photographer: Michael G. Stewart.
Organists have been an important part of Pat Martino's life since in the '60s. Along the way, the Philadelphia-born guitarist has played with a long list of skillful organists that includes Jimmy Smith, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Jack McDuff, Joey DeFrancesco, Trudy Pitts, and Don Patterson. And while Martino hasn't featured organists on all of his albums (some of his best releases have employed pianists instead of organists), it is safe to say that organists have had a very positive effect on him. The presence of an organist is definitely advantageous for Martino on Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley, which focuses on a June 2009 appearance in Washington, D.C. Martino is joined by organist Tony Monaco, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, and he never fails to sound excited by the guitar/organ/tenor/drums combination that he is quite familiar with. Monaco, thankfully, is given plenty of room to stretch out; so is the expressive, hard-swinging Alexander. Except for Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," the quartet devotes itself to Martino's original compositions -- and the sparks fly on Martino originals such as "Midnight Special," "Goin' to a Meeting," "Lean Years," and "Side Effect." It should be noted that Blues Alley, despite its name, is a jazz club rather than a blues club. Yet the name points to the relationship that jazz and the blues have had over the years. And while Martino (who was 64 at the time of this recording) is very much a jazz musician, he brings plenty of bluesiness to his Blues Alley performances. Even on the most cerebral parts of this CD, Martino plays with a great deal of blues feeling and demonstrates his ability to balance soulfulness and intellect. Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley is a memorable document of Martino's June 2009 appearance at the Washington, D.C. club. ~ Alex Henderson
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