421

Joe Pass: Blues For Fred

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Pass's Virtuoso (Pablo, 1974) was a milestone: not only was it a terrific CD, it was also the first solo jazz guitar record that was worth listening to all the way through. Pass melded the harmonic virtuosity of Art Tatum to a rock 'n' roll sensibility that appealed to fans of Coltrane and Hendrix alike. Of course, it spawned a series of like-minded recordings from the acknowledged guitar genius.

The 1988 recording Blues For Fred is a bit under the radar in that it doesn't feature Virtuoso in the title like much of the series, but it's no less appealing. Here Pass works through an album full of songs associated with Fred Astaire, who introduced more standards into the repertoire than virtually anyone else. Thus, any Astaire tribute will ultimately be exactly that: an album of standards. But this was in large part what Pass had been doing all along, and what made him such a great artist.

A five-minute version of "Cheek To Cheek" never loses its appeal because Pass can rework the melody in ways thought impossible on the guitar before he hit the scene, and there's plenty of walking bass and scale and arpeggio detours to keep things lively. The same holds true for the rest of the selections—familiar standards (these were Fred's songs, after all) interpreted with grace and taste. Those who have heard Virtuoso will enjoy a different treatment of "Night and Day," a more subdued, lightly swinging approach that further demonstrates Pass's gifts.

While the novelty of Pass's skills had long worn off by now, the talent still remains. Virtuoso is still his crowning achievement, but Blues For Fred is of similar artistic merit.


Track Listing: 1. Cheek To Cheek 2. By Myself 3. Night and Day 4. They Can't Take That Away From Me 5. Blues For Fred/They All Laughed 6. Dancing In the Dark 7. Oh Lady, Be Good 8. I Concentrate On You 9. A Foggy Day 10. The Way You Look Tonight 11. Tap Blues.

Personnel: Joe Pass - guitar.

Title: Blues For Fred | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Pablo


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Possessed" CD/LP/Track Review Possessed
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "Two Of A Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Two Of A Kind
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Milestones" CD/LP/Track Review Milestones
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "Live at the Stone: Megaloprepus Caerulatus" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Stone: Megaloprepus Caerulatus
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "The Busker" CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Obnoxius" CD/LP/Track Review Obnoxius
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 20, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.