Pat Martino, the jazz genius who forgot how to play the guitar

Sit down and be as blown away by this story as I was when I first heard it. His protagonist, Pat Martino, is already considered one of the greatest guitarists in the history of jazz, but at age 36 he began to suffer from severe headaches that left him barely able to move.

After relevant examinations, in 1980, doctors diagnosed him with a severe brain aneurysm, which may end his life if he does not operate immediately. Intervention is complex, but there are no options. At the end of the surgery, the specialists told his wife two pieces of news: good news and bad news. The good news is that Martino survived and is doing well. The bad news is, he doesn’t remember anything from his previous life.

That accident, with a single stroke of a pen, erased all the memories of his tense life. A total of 36 years of rich musical experience available only to the privileged few. After leaving the operating room, he had no memory of being born in Philadelphia in 1944, the same day the Allies liberated Paris. He also doesn’t remember the beginning of his career as a professional guitarist, at the age of 15, and thanks to overwhelming talent. Nor did he dabble in saxophonists such as Willis Jackson, Red Holloway, or Red Holloway, or Jimmy McGriff, Don Patterson, Jimmy Smith, Jack Formations led by organists such as Macduff or Richard Grove Holmes. Also didn’t know that in 1966 at the age of 22 he was touring with the great John Handy. Also unaware that at the same age he started leading his own team in shows for Prestige, Muse and Warner Bros. He showed a keen interest in progressive jazz, rock, pop and world music, which he incorporated into his hard bop style, making him one of the greatest musicians around.

All of these lives disappeared in a few hours of surgery. He barely recognizes his parents, or himself, or his career as a musician. On top of that, he forgot how to play every chord he had learned, completely losing his skills as a guitarist. He doesn’t even know what to do. «He doesn’t know my parents, he doesn’t remember my guitar or my music career. He found me empty, naked, dead », he recalled years later.

At first, his parents showed him the covers of their records, but he didn’t recognize anything. Then he starts listening to the record he recorded with the guy he doesn’t even know, distraught. Instead of breaking down, however, he struggles with lost memories and makes a decision that brings him back to life, back to his past life: to become himself again, his best imitator, a kind of reincarnated him.

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