Live At Yoshi's by Pat Martino
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That Pat Martino's new Live at Yoshi's
is a stunning display of jazz-guitar prowess should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the six-string legend. That the disc is one of those lucky live albums that captures a night when everything seemed to be falling into place for Martino and his trio of organist Joey DeFrancesco
and drummer Billy Hart
is perhaps more than even the guitarist's most ardent admirers could have hoped for. DeFrancesco and Hart are both predictably awe-inspiring, but it's the telepathic chemistry between the three band members and the understandably thrilled audience that really blasts Live at Yoshi's
into a higher realm of live jazz albums. The trio's interplay on the laid-back version of "All Blues" seems to reach a new peak with each chorus, culminating in Martino's beautiful closing unaccompanied cadenza, and the guitarist and DeFrancesco seem to inspire each other to ever greater heights on the ballad "Welcome to a Prayer." Those enamored of Martino's fleet-fingered heroics will have plenty to feast on here--from the breakneck tempo of the opening "Oleo" to the hard-swinging "El Hombre," Martino and DeFrancesco trade lines with an assurance that few musicians can muster. Martino has one of the more inspirational personal stories in music. A guitar legend in the '70s, he had to completely relearn the instrument after a near-fatal brain aneurysm in 1980--and he can now lay claim to one of the more inspirational live albums released in years. --Ezra Gale