The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Charles Krug 2006 X Clones Cabernet & Pat martino

Missed posting on Friday as it was my birthday and things got away from me. Celebrated with a very special wine sent to me by a friend. Ordinarily I pair a wine with a guitarist, but tonight, because of the wine, I’m going to do the wine first and follow with an appropriate musician. The wine in question is the Charles Krug X Clones Cabernet Sauvignon. Now this wine is way, way beyond my $25.00 limit, but it was a special occasion and deserves a review. The X is actually the Roman numeral for ten, signifying that the wine was made from ten different Cabernet clones on the grounds of the winery. Opening the wine releases a heavenly aroma of dark berries and spice. The dark purple elixer has a rich mouthfeel, complex with notes of black cherry, blackberry, and coffee with soft tannins and an elegant finish of dark chocolate and toasty oak. Without question, this is one of the best Cabernets I’ve tasted. Thanks, Bob!

Now with an elegant wine like the X Clone Cab, I have to pull an equally classy guitarist from my archives. So tonight, meet Pat Martino, one of my favorite jazz guitarists and one of the greats of the genre, and his story is truly amazing. Born Pat Azzara in Philadelphia in 1944, he began playing the guitar at the age of twelve. During visits to his music teacher Dennis Sandole, Pat often ran into another gifted student, John Coltrane, who would treat the young musician to hot chocolate as they talked about music. Pat’s father was a jazz singer who took him to the city clubs to see all the greats like Wes Montgomery and others. He left school after tenth grade to devote himself full time to music. Pat became actively involved with the early rock scene in Philadelphia, alongside stars like Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Darin. Later, he moved to Harlem, New York to study soul jazz. He became a jazz icon by the age of twenty.

In 1976, while performing internationally with his fusion group “Joyous Lake” Martino began experiencing seizures, which were eventually diagnosed as arteriovenous malformation. In 1980, doctors discovered Pat had a severe brain aneurysm, a potentially fatal condition, so he underwent surgery. But after the operation he faced the biggest challenge of his life—amnesia. He barely recognized his parents and had no memory of his guitar or his career. He later commented that he felt as if he had been "dropped cold, empty, and naked into a new body."

In the following months, Martino made a remarkable recovery. Through intensive study of his own historic recordings, and with the help of computer technology, Pat managed to reverse his memory loss and return to form on his instrument. Today, he’s thriving and lives in Philly. To me, the crowning achievement, made all the more meaningful because of the hard road he had to travel, was his award as Guitar Player of the Year in Downbeat Magazine's 2004 Reader's Poll. I hope you enjoy the music of this gifted and incredibly tough guitarist.

Episode thirty:

The Great Stream:


Oleo 1:


Willow Weep for Me:

How Insensitive:

Along came Betty:

I remember Clifford:  



Do you have a name?:

These are soulful days:



1 comment:

Rick Daley said...

I love smooth, clean jazz guitar. Happy birthday!