Pat Martino Trio Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., May 31, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., June 1, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., June 2, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., June 3, 8 & 10 p.m. 2012

This is a good week for fans of jazz guitar: Peter Bernstein gives a rare solo performance Saturday at the Old Town School, and Pat Martino, at 67 a master from a previous generation, holds court for four nights at the Jazz Showcase. While Bernstein distinguishes himself with smoldering subtlety, you might say Martino sets fires—on last year's Undeniable (HighNote), recorded live in 2009 at Blues Alley in D.C., he does it again and again. A prodigy in the 1960s, Martino was robbed of his memory by an aneurysm in 1980 and had to relearn his craft by listening to his own recordings. He was steeped in the blues growing up in south Philadelphia, and his playing retains those roots despite his experiments with psychedelia and Indian music in the early 70s—he's all about the mastery of fundamentals. On the standard "Midnight Special" he shows off the parallel-octave technique he picked up from his early hero Wes Montgomery, and on his own tune "Goin' to a Meeting" he demonstrates the perfect way to pull off an old trick—he repeats the same pleading phrase as the rest of the band cycles through the changes, giving it more emotional power with each pass. Plus Martino can sound just as good taking it easy as he does setting it off; he brings a probing, lyrical tenderness to his version of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight." He leads a trio here, with Pat Bianchi on Hammond B-3 and Carmen Intorre on drums. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20-$25

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