Pat Martino's Solo on:
"Once I Loved"(Jobim-Gilbert-de Moraes)
For me, it's a bit hard to believe that we are sitting here discussing a Pat Martino solo which was recorded now some 32 years ago, and, on his very first CD for Prestige Records as a leader, "EL HOMBRE." A CD which features Pat in what is essentially an organ trio context, a context within which he was so very comfortable and fluent after years spent with Jack McDuff, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and Don Patterson. Here, he is teamed with organist Trudy Pitts. As I stated in the introduction to my book, "PAT MARTINO: The Early Years"(Warner Publications), this is the period of Pat's career which houses some of his best work. Work which makes it obvious why, at such a young age, he attracted legions of avid and loyal fans. I have also felt that to try and clearly understand his work and approach to improvising, it's best to listen to and examine his playing on standards. His solo on Antonio Carlos Jobim's classic bossa nova, "Once I Loved," offers us just such an opportunity.
Another reason I am so fond of this period of Pat's recorded work is that his guitar sound was so beautiful then, as he was still using his Gibson L-5. This particular recording was engineered by Rudy Van Gelder who, not so ironically, had recorded Wes Montgomery performing this same song on the LP, "GOIN' OUT OF MY HEAD"(Verve) just two years earlier. Wes, however, played the tune in the key of 'F' whereas here, it is performed in 'C' by Martino. Yet, the language spoken by both is so very similar, and one can hear the profound influence of Wes Montgomery in so much of Pat's work, especially during this time. In these years, in my view, the work of both Pat Martino and his counterpart, George Benson, offers consistent and loving tribute to Wes. Few guitarists have done any better at this than these two giants of the instrument. Pat's 'Wes impression' done with a pick is remarkable because his attack is so precise and pointed, each note giving his playing a unique stamp. When you couple this with his very aggressive time feel, it's so very easy to understand his international appeal.
As we have done in the past with all the shared transcriptions, let's first take a look at the song itself, and its form. "Once I Loved" falls into the [A][A'] category, or [A][A2] as I have labeled the form on the new transcription. However, this is very different than most of its American song form counterparts. Here [A] is 16 bars as one might expect, but [A2] is 24 bars in length which is unusual. It's almost as though there's a little 8-bar [Tag] added to [A2]. For the player trying to learn and understand the all important 'language of jazz,' "Once I Loved" is a great tune for study because it offers the improviser a string of various iim7-V7-I progressions. Pat's two-chorus solo starts off lyrically enough but, it is not long before he has launched into some of his most classic double-time lines, essentially beginning at bar 9. The attraction and pull towards learning and understanding the double-time lines is obvious because Pat's attack, phrasing, and the relentless nature of his time-feel are so very striking. But, please don't overlook the tremendous lyricism of his 8th-note single note lines which appear in letter [A] of Chorus , bars 1-8; 13-16 and continue through [A2] in bars 17-19; 29-33; and 37-40. You should also try and keep in mind that even with Pat's aggressive time feel, he does a deft job of 'laying back'(playing purposefully behind the time) on many of his none double-time phrases, and you can really hear this during the octave chorus, Chorus .
Like so many great jazz players, Martino has his own approach to the 'jazz language' and its 'modal chromaticism,' as I like to call it. There are certain 'classic' Martino-isms presented in his very Dorian mode oriented approach to iim7 chords and you can see and hear such things in [A] during bar 9 and in [A2] at bar 23. Notice how on beat 3 in both bars, the line is configured in exactly the same manner. Pat's lines also offer very standard cadences from V7(alt.) chords to Imaj7 chords. During this period of his work, they seem to fall into two types:  those which employ the usage of the #9-b9 movement within the line, take a look at [A] and bar 10; and in [A2] at bars 26 and 30. Then there are those cadences which  employ the outline of an augmented triad. Observe bars 26 and 34 of [A2]. Just one little extra point of interest, if you look closely at bar 10 of [A] and then compare it with bar 26 of [A2] you will see that beats 2-4 of bar 10 are EXACTLY the same as beats 1-3 of bar 26! Make out of that what you will.
Pat also has a particular way of 'hearing' things over major 7th chords as well. [If anyone is confused by my notation, I use the 'triangle' symbol to indicate major 7th chords.] In rapid passages he often employs a line configuration where the line goes from the maj.7th-Root-3rd-5th(a major 7th arpeggio in the 4th inversion), take a look at bars 27 and 35 in Chorus . He also often plays a line on major 7th chords with a particular emphasis on arriving at the 3rd of the chord and then going down to the maj. 7th followed by the 6th, this device can be seen in bars: 3; 31; and 33. It also appears in Chorus  which features his Wes Montgomery-esque octaves, observe bars: 3; 11; 15; and 27. There is also a particular chromaticism Martino applies to major 7th chords seen only once in this solo but also found in most of his other solos as well. It always appears in a descending line and begins on the major 7th moving chromatically down to the 5th. In this solo, it appears in the double-time passage in Chorus  during bars 35-36.
As I just mentioned, Pat Martino's 2nd chorus of this solo features a 'tribute' to the octaves and chords of Wes Montgomery. Pat does this as well as anyone, then, or now for that matter. It's interesting that the first notes played are also 'A' and 'E' just as he began the single-note chorus. The chordal punctuations he employs are very much influenced by Wes as he uses a sequence of 4-note diminished voicings over the 7b9 chords in bars 4 and 20. While listening to those chordal passages pay special attention to his phrasing, the 'bounce' and the short attack of the notes is really tremendous. It would seem obvious that Pat approached the exploration of octaves in a way similar to Wes, as he takes the specific configurations of his single lines and then transforms those same lines into octaves. Examples of this appear in bars: 9-10; 23; 25-26; 33-34; 38-39.
One other point of interest I'd like to address is the labeling or naming of the chords in bars 4 and 6 of [A] or 20 and 22 in [A2]. Often times in lead sheets of this tune, players will, for efficiency sake, label these chords as C#°7 and D#°7 respectively because they want to make certain that the movement of the bass notes is notated and observed. However, this can lead the improviser down a rather limited path of approaching the lines(for those bars) in a strictly diminished fashion; when what is really going on is that these chords are part of a V7(b9) chord which gives one a greater range for their lines.
As with all the solos shared in the book, this solo was also done during my college years at U.C.L.A.('65-'69) and was not included in the original book. It has been my hope for sometime that there would either be a Volume II of "PAT MARTINO: The Early Years" or, that the original edition would be enlarged, and the eight remaining transcriptions could be added to that. I can only say that we'll have to continue to wait to see what, if anything, develops with the publishers. So, for those of you who are great Pat Martino fans, please consider this to be my late Happy Thanksgiving present or an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's gift, make that a Happy Next Century! Wishing you all good health, happiness, and long life.
Addendum: At times, I am just amazed at just how very careless I used to be, and sometimes, still can be. This feeling is only compounded by the fact that I try to get all my students, when they are either writing out their own music, or doing transcriptions, to write out the music and they would want to see it presented to themselves. Where transcriptions are concerned, I have always said that, the first step is to be certain that you have written out the correct changes that the soloist is playing over. When I was transcribing Pat Martino's solo over Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Once I Loved" some 40+ years ago, I thought that I 'knew' the changes to this wonderful Brazilian standard. Well, I did know them, at least as they related to most of the vocal versions I had heard of the song. Foremost amongst them was the one by Brasil's sadly underappreciated Wanda Sá. So, the truth is that I just wrote out those chord changes, in this key, and never looked at them again. And, worst of all, I never really listened to what organist Trudy Pitts was actually playing on this recording. How pathetic is that?!?!? Recently, after having assigned this tune to a student, in order to help him to improve his comping on all levels, I was forced to listen to this performance again. When I finally actually heard what Trudy Pitts was playing, I was shocked beyond belief at my errors. And so, I ended-up re-writing the entire transcription.
In general, the first 8 bars of "Once I Loved" are traditionally played like this:
|| Dm7(9) / / / | G7(13) / / / | Cmaj7 / / / | C#°7 / / / |
| Dm7 / / / | D#°7 / / / | Em7 / / / | Em7 Ebm7 Dm7 Dbm7 ||
My first errors appeared in bars 3-4, because Trudy Pitts plays Em7(9) and then A7(b9). To use the iiim7 as a substitute for the Imaj7 is very common as the chords can sound so similar. What's interesting about what Trudy does is that she adds the natural 9th(F#) and you would not normally see that with Cmaj7 in this context. When I see something like this, I am reminded of the way that Kenny Burrell comps behind Jimmy Smith on their wonderful interpretation of Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll." In bar 6, she also plays B7(b9).
In the next-to-last paragraph of the original analysis[which seems to have been written around December of 1999], I have addressed the labeling of these diminished 7th chords and their true functions. But, to be clear, the C#°7 should really be labeled, A7(b9)/C# and, the D#°7 should really be labeled as B7(b9)/D#. This way, you are still indicating how you want the bass voice to move, but you are giving a more clear indication of what the 'real' harmony is doing.
My other great error appeared in the last 4 bars of the [A2] section. Originally, it looked like this:
| Bm7b5 / / / | E7(alt.) / / / | Am7 / / / | A7(#5) / / / ||
But, bars 1 & 2 of this little passage are totally wrong, incorrect!!! Go sit in the corner Steve!!! As you will see on the updated transcription, these bars should now look like this:
| F#m7b5 / / / | Bm7b5 / E7(alt.) / | Am7 / / / | A7(#5) / / / ||
I also made another small error in bar 16 of [A2], because Trudy Pitts plays something unusual here. Normally, after the arrival at the Amaj7 chord, players then make a iim7-V7 to Gmaj. In others words: Am7 / D7 / | Gmaj7. But, Trudy Pitts extends the Amaj7 through the 1st 2 beats of the next bar. And so, the passage now looks like this:
| Bm7b5 / / / | E7(#9) / / / | Amaj7 / / / || Amaj7 / D7(9) / | Gmaj7 / / / |
And so, after all these errors, I am only left to wonder, "What was I hearing then? What was I listening to then?" Well, obviously, I was only concentrating on Pat Martino's solo, and I committed one of the most fundamental errors in transcribing. And again, that is: Always make certain that you have figured out the correct chord changes and the correct form/structure of the solos before you begin to transcribe a solo!!! When you don't do that? You are just asking for trouble.
It would seem that the original text for the analysis of this transcription was written around December of 1999, and here we are some 9 years later. Here's hoping, at least for my part, that January of '09 will see the USA with an exciting new President, and that this nation will be finally headed in a different direction. A direction which, over time, might enable us to once again find a little respect throughout the world. The next President, hopefully Barack Obama, will face a mountain of challenges, both domestically and globally, and it will take quite a bit of time to correct the unthinkable errors of the past 8 years. Let us all just hope for the best.