Widely recognized today as one of jazz’s greatest and most original guitarists, Pat Martino was just 22 when he entered Van Gelder’s studio for his debut disc, El Hombre, recorded in 1967.
As a sideman, he had played with Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson and Groove Holmes, among other B-3 organists, so it wasn’t a stretch to hear his first disc be in the soul-jazz groove in the company of B3er and fellow Philadelphian Trudy Pitts. There are galloping tunes as well as tender ballads. In the words of new liner note writer Dave McElfresh, Martino demonstrated "the unique mid- to low-range tone of his guitar, the more-intelligent-than-romantic signature that still defines his style. Such somber, fleet-fingered rants, with each phrase’s high notes punctuated like a punch in the mouth, had already—by his first album—come to embody the best of hard bop guitar playing." A stunning debut, El Hombre features originals and a Jobim cover, "Once I Loved." Bonus track is the previously unreleased "Song for My Mother."
"I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger."
—Rudy Van Gelder