Martino was born Pat Azzara in South Philadelphia. He began playing professionally at the age of 15 after moving to New York City. He lived for a period with Les Paul and began playing at jazz clubs such as Smalls Paradise. He later moved into a suite in the President Hotel on 48th Street. He would play at Smalls for six months of the year, and then in the summer play at the Club Harlem in Atlantic City.
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