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RealTracks Artist Bio: Pat Martino

Since 1987, jazz guitar legend Pat Martino has recorded more than ten albums (two of them nominated for Grammy awards), has been nominated twice for the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo Grammy, and won the Downbeat Readers' Poll as Guitar Player of the Year. Today, the brilliance of his playing is undiminished and he maintains a steady teaching and touring schedule while constantly seeking new challenges as a musician. Which is all the more remarkable since these achievements came after surgery for a brain aneurism in 1980 wiped out all memory of his career as one of the greatest guitar players in jazz.

That career began at an early age. From the time Pat picked up the guitar at age 12 it was obvious that he was a gifted musician. So much so that he left school in his native Philadelphia at age 15 to move to Harlem. There he got his start on the "chitlin' circuit" in the 1960s, first as a sideman to Willis “Gator” Jackson and then with organ groups led by Richard "Groove" Holmes, Brother Jack McDuff, Don Patterson, Trudy Pitts, Charles Earland, Jimmy Smith, and others. He also made his first recordings with Willis Jackson, Richard Holmes, and John Handy. It was while playing with John Handy that he was offered his first recording contract. From then until 1980 he released more than a dozen of his own albums exploring the full range of his talent in the post-bop, fusion, mainstream jazz, soul jazz, and hard bop idioms. Over the years he has built a large discography as a recording artist for Vanguard, Prestige, Warner Brothers, Muse, Columbia, King, Paddlewheel, Evidence, Sony, 32 Jazz, High Note, Milestone, Polydor, Concord, Fantasy, House of Blues, Mythos, Mainstream, Cobblestone, Atlantic, and Blue Note Records. There is a full discography at, and more song credits at

It was during the 1970s that Pat Martino emerged as an inspirational teacher, first as a visiting instructor at Hollywood’s G.I.T. (where he was revered as a guru), and then with clinics, master classes, and music therapy seminars in universities and colleges throughout the USA and in Italy, France, The Netherlands, and Ireland. He has also served on the adjunct faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and he particularly treasures his relationships with the private students who flock to his door.

Please visit Pat Martino's web site at for the full story of his remarkable life and career.

Pat Martino plays these RealTracks:

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