Pat Martino: Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery (2006)
The last thing jazz needs is more tribute projects that merely perpetuate the ever-increasing stagnation of an industry trying to make a fast buck off the legacy of fallen giants. At first glance it would appear that this is exactly what Remember is all about. But fortunately, the artist paying tribute here is Philadelphian Pat Martino, a bona fide giant of jazz guitar who maintains the same rapid-fire intensity that put him on the jazz map in the 1960s.
Martino gets right down to business on the opening cut, "Four on Six. He tears through the Montgomery classic with the power of a fire-breathing dragon. "Twisted Blues is another Montgomery burner that keeps the momentum flowing, providing a wonderful showcase for Martino's trademark single-note lines, which weave a tight web of harmonic complexity, coated with deep-fried grease.
While the bulk of the tunes are Montgomery compositions, there are also a few standards associated with the late guitarist's recorded legacy. One such gem is the Robin/Rainger ballad "If I Should Lose You, which Martino renders in a very controlled yet emotive way that's similar to how he approached ballads on his landmark recording We'll Be Together Again from the mid-1970s.
"S.K.J. is the only track featuring first-rate bassist John Patitucci. He lays down a great solo on the Milt Jackson classic that leaves you wanting more. His accompaniment throughout is superb, with driving energy and impeccable intonation. Pianist David Kikoski is equally brilliant. His solo on "Full House is a highlighthe mixes a delicate combination of block chords and single-note runs that are rhythmically intricate in the style of Herbie Hancock.
One very disappointing aspect of this recording is the overall mix. Martino's guitar seems to be buried throughout, especially on "Road Song and "Full House. You have to scratch your head and wonder how this kind of blunder was able to sneak by before the disc was released. Sonic inferiorities aside, this is a decent outing and a worthy tribute from one master to another.
Track Listing: Four on Six; Groove Yard; Full House; Heart Strings; Twisted Blues; Road Song, West Coast Blues; S.K.J.; If I Should Lose You; Unit 7.
Personnel: Pat Martino: guitar; John Patitucci: bass; David Kikoski: piano; Scott Allan Robinson: drums; Daniel Sadownick: percussion.