Various Artists

Alternative Guitar Summit: Honoring Pat Martino, Volume 1

Eight months before legendary guitarist Pat Martino died in November 2021, the Alternative Guitar Summit, an annual conference organized by Joel Harrison, paid tribute to him with a series of live-in-the-studio performances, nine of which are preserved here. The program is split between solos and duos, four of the former and five of the latter, and the tunes come both from Martino’s early releases and the records he made after undergoing brain surgery and being forced to re-learn the guitar from scratch.

Some of the arrangements are similarly wholesale rebuilds, like Fareed Haque’s take on “Line Games,” which, by playing a highly electric line on acoustic and adding tabla, transforms a rockin’ late-’70s fusion track into something vivid and sparkling.

Dave Stryker and Paul Bollenback dive headlong into “On The Stairs” from 1974’s Consciousness, and it’s a fascinating contrast of not-that-different styles. Both men are coming out of Grant Green, but Stryker’s playing has more bite. Bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Allan Mednard drive them hard; Mednard takes a machine-gun solo to end the piece.

What makes Martino’s music memorable — and what these performers recognize — is that he wrote extraordinarily strong tunes that blossom in almost any arrangement.

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