All Thawed Out

 

I’m officially back from my winter blogging hiatus, with a backlog of posts waiting for prime time. I like to think my excuses were legitimate — foremost among them being preparation for my first gig in at least eight years! My jazz band masterclass performed for the first time last week at Jazzy’s in Bowie, Maryland. The repertoire included tunes by Wayne Shorter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Andy Timmons, and I was using all my free time to get my chops up to speed. I’m looking forward to a few more gigs this summer.

I also vacationed to New York City a couple weeks ago, which included a few guitar-themed diversions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently hosting an amazing collection of 35 early American guitars, including an assortment of pre-Civil War Martins (the earliest known Martin, from 1834, is pictured above). The exhibit was clearly designed with input from guitar geeks, because the descriptions included detailed technical analysis of the instruments — particularly the evolution of C.F. Martin’s bracing pattern from the Spanish-style fan to the X-brace reinforcing the top of most contemporary steel strings.

The other highlight of the trip was catching Pat Martino’s organ trio at Birdland. This was my second opportunity to see Martino live, and I was once again blown away; the man’s combination of old-school soul and awe-inspiring chops is unmatched. Besides being a legendary picker, Pat has a fascinating backstory that makes his music all the more inspiring. I waited for an autograph after the show, and he’s also one of the warmest and most likable musicians you’ll ever meet. Besides catching him live, make sure to pick up Martino’s latest release, a (formerly) bootleg live recording from 1969 appropriately titled Young Guns.

 

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