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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JOE PASS

Virtuoso

Original Jazz Classics Remasters
Pablo 2310 708

 

 


1. Night & Day
2. Stella by Starlight
3. Here's That Rainy Day
4. My Old Flame
5. How High the Moon
6. Cherokee
7. Sweet Lorraine
8. Have You Met Miss Jones
9. `Round Midnight
10. All the Things You Are
11. Blues for Alican
12. The Song is You

Joe Pass - Guitar

 

This album made by Norman Granz in 1973 launched the career of Joe Pass on the international stage. He was of course already well known at that time to his fellow musicians, but this solo album gave evidence of his being one of the very best around.

This album put Pass in the big league to such an extent that in 1974, he topped the Downbeat Readers' and Critics' polls. Joe died some twenty years later and to many he was the Charlie Parker of the guitar, that is, he set a style that was both envied and copied.

In 1966/7 he was a member of the George Shearing Quartet, which was hot property in the music business at that time. After 1974 he was a headliner working with JATP sometimes and performing at jazz clubs and jazz festivals throughout the world.

This album turned out to be a defining moment for solo guitar players. To this day, the incredible Martin Taylor still tours playing solo concerts, though of course he is much younger than Joe who passed away in 1994.

This new record was remastered for this release, which includes the original sleeve-notes written by Benny Green and some current observations on Joe's background and career by Doug Ramsey; both are very informative. Joe's father was a steel worker and he was determined that his son should have a more rewarding career, so he bought him a guitar but then took a tyrannical approach to his son's learning to play it! Joe was made to practice many hours every day and although it accounts for the stunning musicianship we hear on the record, it also resulted in Joe taking little pleasure from his playing. He enjoyed the applause and the adulation but not the performance.

The music on the album is sensational even by today's standards. He chose to play tunes that have more difficult chord sequences than most and flies through them with enormous technique and taste, creating performances that dazzle the listener with his creative ability. The Song is You is not a tune for the faint-hearted: the slightest error in navigating the unique middle section can end you up in the wrong key, but Joe makes his own version of it without the slightest difficulty, creating what is a masterpiece of improvisation.

Many jazz buffs will, I am sure, have this album already but, if you don't own it, it's a must buy!

Don Mather



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