The world (and the world's bookstores) are full of comeback stories, both real and fictional, but few can hold a candle to Here and Now! The Autobiography of Pat Martino
(Applause Books; $24.99). Written with jazz journalist Bill Milkowski, legendary jazz guitar master Pat Martino tells the remarkable story of his comeback from a brain aneurysm that took his memory and nearly took his life.
By age 16, Martino was already working as a member of R&B star Lloyd Price
's touring musical revue. By age 18, he had moved to Harlem, where he quickly earned a reputation as a hard-bopping six-stringer with formidable chops through a series of apprenticeships with the likes of saxophonist Willis Jackson
and organist Jack McDuff
. At age 22, Martino made is debut as a bandleader with his 1967 album El Hombre
on the Prestige label and followed it up with a string of potent recordings that further established him as one of the most distinctive guitar voices on the jazz scene.
Then, at the peak of his powers, the bottom fell out. In 1980, he underwent surgery following a near-fatal brain aneurysm, which left him with no memory of the guitar or his musical career. At that point, Martino began the long process of recovery, eventually relearning how to play the guitar, but, more important, learning how to transcend the instrument itself and live his life completely in the moment.
More than just the remarkable story of one of the most original and profoundly influential guitarists in jazz history, Here and Now!
is also something of a survival manual for overcoming incredible adversity and learning how to live in the here and now.
Pat Martino is an acclaimed guitarist, composer, and bandleader whose staggering artistic output since the mid-1960s ranks him as one of the premier players of his instrument. Struck down at the peak of his popularity in 1980 by a life-threatening brain aneurysm, he has made a remarkable recovery and in recent years has returned to his former glory as one of the world's great guitar players. He lives in Philadelphia.
Bill Milkowski has been covering the jazz and blues scene since 1974. He is a regular contributor to Jazz Times
and Absolute Sound
magazines and his work has appeared in Guitar Player
, Bass Player
, and Jazz Thing
. He is also the author of Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius
, also published by Backbeat Books. He lives in New York.