January 18 -25
Pat Martino Quartet, Michael Young, Ben Miller Band and Mike Dillion’s Go Go Jungle
Pat Martino Quartet
Jazz guitarist Pat Martino’s story is one that Hollywood should love. In 1976 when Martino was in his early 30’s, he suffered a brain aneurysm was told that he might die. After surgery his memory was gone and he could no longer play the instrument he had mastered as a child. He eventually regained his memory and by listening to his past recordings, learned to play again. After an eleven-year hiatus he returned to performing and received Grammy nominations in 2002 and 2003 and was honored as Guitar Player of the Year in Downbeat magazine’s 2004 readers poll.
Martino was introduced to the world of music in the early 1950’s, by his father, Mickey Azzara, a Philadelphia jazz singer. In his teenage years, Martino became friends with another rising star, John Coltrane. Martino became part of the Philadelphia rock scene and was tapped by Lloyd Price to play on rock hits like Stagger Lee. He then moved to New York to pursue jazz and was signed by Prestige Records at age 20. One of his early albums, Baiyina was one of the first jazz crossover ventures into psychedelia. Despite being sidelined for more than a decade, Martino’s talent has kept him in demand. He has played with Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Richard Groove Holmes, John Handy, Bobby Hutcherson, Jack McDuff, Don Patterson, Eric Kloss, Trudy Pitts, Willis Jackson, Woody Herman, Chuck Israels, Charles Earland, Barry Miles and Joe Pesci. He has also taught worldwide and continues to expand his reputation as one of the finest jazz guitarists working today.
The Pat Martino Quartet will play two shows Saturday at the Walton Arts Center. Shows are at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
This week there is more than one notable guitarist passing through town. Jazz fans have been eagerly anticipating the Pat Martino show at the Walton Arts Center on Saturday, while Sunday night at 8:30 a young Minnesota guitarist on the rise, Michael Young, will drop in for a show at The Common Grounds on Dickson Street. Young is a fingerstyle guitarist who plays both the six and twelve-string guitar. He pushes the limits of the instrument by combining standard and alternate tunings and incorporating a bit of slide guitar into his playing. He has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the legendary CBGB 313 Gallery and the Knitting Factory in New York and has shared the stage with a number of performers including Leon Russell and Steve Kimock. Young released his first album, “I Listen to My Feet” in 2004 and is currently working on a followup.
Michael Young will play The Common Grounds at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Mike Dillon’s Go Go Jungle and the Ben Miller Band
The red-hot Mike Dillon’s Go Go Jungle, should need no introduction, other than: If you haven’t heard them live, it’s time. The three band members, Dillon, GoGo Ray and JJ Jungle, played together in once popular Billygoat. Dillon has done a number of projects and worked with the likes of Ani Difranco and Les Claypool. With GoGo Jungle the music veers more toward the funky route than Dillon’s trademark experimental.
Sharing bill with Dillon’s outfit next Thursday night at George’s, is a Springfield, Mo. band that is gathering a strong following in NWA and the Midwest, the Ben Miller Band. Fans of another Springfield based band, Big Smith, should take note. The Ben Miller sound has been described as “old blues meets hip hop” and like Big Smith, is unique—slide guitar, washtub and trombone, uh huh. Miller who handles lead vocals and slide began his musical career on the streets of northern Europe playing Delta-blues. Backing him up are Scott Leeper on washtub bass and vocals and Doug “Capt Washboard” Dicharry on washboard, drums, trombone and vocals.
Mike Dillion’s Go Go Jungle and The Ben Miller Band will play George’s next Thursday night.