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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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Crotchet

JOE PASS

My Song

TELARC JAZZ CD-83326

 

 

 

  1. Rockin’ In Rhythm
  2. Azure
  3. Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now
  4. Ah Moore
  5. I Can’t Kick
  6. Rockin' Chair
  7. Song for Ellen
  8. Jitterbug Waltz
  9. The Duke
  10. Jo-Wes
  11. Ain’t Misbehavin’

Joe Pass – Guitar
John Pisano – Guitar
Tom Ranier – Piano
Jim Hughart – Bass
Colin Bailey – Drums
Tom Ranier – Clarinet (2), Tenor (5), Soprano (6)

This is tremendous music to listen to, none of the musicians has anything to prove, and they are doing what they do best and doing it better than most other people. This album was recorded in 1993, a year before Joe Pass died. His guitar playing along with that of Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery and earlier Charlie Christian has always been a thing of great joy. These guys understood the framework and chords of a tune thoroughly which made it possible for them to make everything they played so interesting and beautiful. There is nothing ugly here. When you compare these performances to those of the next generation of guitarists, it convinces me that jazz has to some extent lost its way somewhere.

In the sleeve note Joe is quoted as follows;

"The composers from Tin Pan Alley had to work at their craft and learn to write melody and harmony. There was a little more effort put into writing a song. Today it’s not like that. Guys write tunes every second. They do whole albums of original music and you don’t remember one of the tunes."

Joe how right you were when you said those words!

The record has Joe playing at his very best, supported by a superb rhythm section and some nice reed work from Tom Ranier on 3 tracks. The programme selection is also excellent, with tunes from The Duke, Fats Waller, Al Cohn, Hoagy Carmichael and Dave Brubeck and musicians of this quality; no album could fail to be interesting. To be fair there are also some compositions from members of the band, Joe’s solo on his solo Song for Ellen, Tom Ranier’s composition, I Can’t Kick and John Pisano’s tribute to Wes Montgomery, Jo-Wes. They are however in the context of an album of songs from master craftsmen and therefore have their place.

John Pisano is given the status of ‘rhythm guitar on the sleeve note, but he is a lot more than that on the record, often playing counter melodies and harmonies as Joe weaves his magic. There are no Fuzz Boxes or weird sounds of any sort, just really enjoyable and sometimes unpredictable improvisations beautifully played.

I was pleased to see that Dave Brubeck’s composition, ‘The Duke ‘had been included, is now in the library of many world-class players. Dave has a number of compositions worthy of any album.

Jim Hughart plays nice clean uncluttered bass lines throughout and Tom Ranier and Colin Bailey are perfect in their support of the exquisite artistry of Joe.

There is just over an hour’s worth of undiluted pleasure here for anyone who likes their jazz musical, full of interest and played by one of the all time jazz guitar giants.

Don Mather



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