Jazz Fest: Pat Martino Trio Sets Night On Fire


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If there's a formula to Pat Martino's way with a tune, there's nothing formulaic about the result.

In a set Tuesday night that bordered on spontaneous combustion, Martino led his trio through 11 numbers that turned the standard repertoire into sonic reveries.

Joining Martino for a Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest concert at the Miller Center for the Arts were Pat Bianchi on the Hammond B3, never played more soulfully, and drummer Carmen Intorre, whose touch ran the gamut from barely audible whispers of the brushes against the snare to thunderclaps against the beat that could have roused the dead.

The formula?

Martino starts things off, with long, complex solos to announce the song, soaring, arching, doubling back, then retreating into cascading chords, cues for Bianchi's Hammond B3 to glide into sonic view, ditch the curlicues and filigrees we barely heard during Martino's solos and set the stage on fire. Then he retreats, sounding as if the organ were offstage (or underneath it), only to let Intorre cut loose with some four-bar breaks and shake things up.

And to keep things interesting, Martino and Bianchi reinvented playing in unison, mirroring each other with note- and rhythm-perfect precision.

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