Pat Martino: Waltz for Geri


Waltz for Geri


Pat Martino (guitar)


El Hombre (Prestige PRCD-30158-2)

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Pat Martino (guitar), Trudy Pitts (organ), Mitch Fine (drums), Vance Anderson (bongos), Abdu Johnson (congas).

Recorded: May 1, 1967


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Since the vast majority of Martino’s recordings as a leader are outside the realm of organ-jazz, his solo debut El Hombre with Pitts is a real treat to hear this twenty-two year old guitarist perform after cutting his teeth in the service of Jack McDuff, Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes and Willis Jackson. The leadoff tune from that album, “Waltz For Geri,” isn’t just generic soul-jazz, however; Fine and Johnson’s percussion brings a Latin element to the table. Pitts exploits that groove with full organ chords that swing in perfect tandem with the percussionists, never drawing too much attention to herself. However, the main draw is clearly Martino himself. Already we hear him playing classic bop lines, but with his trademark clarity and precision already in evidence.

“Waltz For Geri” was one of 25 tracks selected for Prestige Records’ new compilation of all-time best performances recorded by that label. Martino’s striking first impression as a solo artist deserves this inclusion among other memorable tracks by jazz giants.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron


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