I’m sure most experienced jazz guitarists will look at Pat Martino’s El Hombre as one of the standard albums in the history of jazz guitar. Pat’s solo on “Just Friends” is amazing, featuring a ton of bebop vocabulary and great licks.
I’m going to take you through some of my favorite blues-y licks on the tune, Blues for Mickey-O. It may not be as widely recognized as Just Friends, but it has just as much great blues stuff going on. The tune is a blues in G.
The first lick is over the G7 chord. It’s basically an Fmaj7 arpeggio-an interesting choice in G7. The line absolutely works because it’s both in the key and it has such a strong sounding structure that it sounds great. Remember, structure is king! This is a great way to add some interest to your dominant chord material without playing outside.
The second lick we’ll look at happens when the tune moves from the I to the IV, in this case G7 to C7. This one is classic Pat. He slides into the 9th, a high A, then plays a hybrid blues/dominant (mixolydian) scale down. He resolves it by playing chromatically into the IV chord. The slide into a high note is a device Martino uses all the time. Check out the amazing Live at Yoshi’s for even more of this lick.
This one is a classic blues lick. It’s completely in the blues scale. Simple but really effective.
The last two licks come towards the end of Pat’s solo. This one is a great blues double stop lick, still on the G7 chord. He hammers the b3 to the 4th of the chord while playing the root on top.
This lick is a long repeating lick (yep people used those before Jimmy Page!). This section of the lick shows the resolution. He uses the same notes from Lick 4, this time resolving through the 5th, b3rd, and finally to the root.
Pat’s stuff is classic! Let me know in the comments some of your favorite Pat Martino tunes or albums. There’s a ton to choose from!
Also check out Steve Kahn’s book of early Martino solos-great transcriptions here!Click for the book