SOMERS POINT, N.J. — Jazz guitar legend Pat Martino will be one of the headline acts at this year’s Jazz @ the Point festival in Somers Point from April 11-14.
Martino was born in South Philadelphia and began playing the guitar at age 12, becoming a professional by age 15. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Martino made many recordings as a sideman and also under his own name. His is a true jazz legend who has released over 30 live and studio recordings since 1966, and was nominated for numerous Grammy awards .
In 1976, while performing internationally with his fusion group “Joyous Lake” Martino (right) began experiencing seizures, which were eventually diagnosed as a congenital condition that led to his having a near-fatal brain aneurysm in 1980. He underwent surgery that left him with amnesia and without any memory of the guitar and his musical career.
With the help of friends, computerized therapy and his old recordings, Martino made a complete recovery, and learned to play the guitar again. Martino's return to music started once again with the 1987 recording The Return and, as of 2007, again began touring worldwide.
Martino again lives in Philadelphia and is highly sought after as a guitar instructor. According to a recent interview he did with the New York Times, "the guitar is of no great importance to me," he says. "The people it brings to me are what matter. They are what I'm extremely grateful for, because they are alive. The guitar is just an apparatus."
The Somers Point Jazz Society forges ahead with live music and educational programming through the colder months.
The Somers Point Jazz Society is bringing back its popular monthly Winter Jazz Series starting Jan. 19, when the VCF Trio visits Gregory’s Restaurant.
The Mulgrew Miller Trio is one of this year’s headlining acts at the 15th annual Somers Point Jazz Society Jazz @ the Point Festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday, March 8-11. Miller’s trio performs two sets (8 and 10pm) Friday, March 9, in the banquet room of Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro (see sidebar for details).
The Mulgrew Miller Trio and Jimmy Cobb's Mob headline this year's 15th annual Cape Bank Jazz @ The Point Festival in March.