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THE JAZZ LIFE

To Dream the Impossible Dream: the quest for a music education

Read "To Dream the Impossible Dream: the quest for a music education" reviewed by Peter Rubie

I've been thinking a lot about how jazz is taught recently. I realize now, my search for a real musical education was not a simple thing, but a series of life changing moments. My son, on the other hand, is planning to study music in college after he finishes high school. Though it would fill his grandparents with dread were they still around to see it, to Ben and his peers it is a natural choice, focused on finding the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roy Clark and Joe Pass: Play Hank Williams

Read "Play Hank Williams" reviewed by Samuel Chell

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you--the title means what it says. Birdland comes to Hee Haw on this all-instrumental session, which features the country music icon mixing it up with the once-dominating master of jazz guitar (Oscar Peterson et Joe Pass à la Salle Pleyel, Pablo, 1975). From the perspective of a city boy, this combination might seem as likely as Ornette Coleman and Kenny G getting together to record the music of John Tesh. But trust many guitarists to ...

FILM REVIEWS

Norman Granz' Jazz In Montreux Presents: Joe Pass '75

Read "Norman Granz' Jazz In Montreux Presents: Joe Pass '75" reviewed by John Kelman

Joe Pass Norman Granz' Jazz In Montreux Presents: Joe Pass '75 Eagle Eye Media 2006 (1975)

It's not often you get a second chance in life, but the late guitarist Joe Pass was one of the fortunate few. After starting out playing in big bands like Charlie Barnet's in the 1940s, Pass' drug addiction and resulting jail sentence kept him off the scene for a decade until 1962, when he returned with a series ...

NOT FOR SALE

Joe Pass Live at the Four Queens Hotel, Las Vegas, 1988

Read "Joe Pass Live at the Four Queens Hotel, Las Vegas, 1988" reviewed by Ken Dryden

By the time of his death from cancer in 1994, Joe Pass was widely recognized as one of the top jazz guitarists of all time, especially for his virtuoso solo performances. Prior to his passing, I had an opportunity to do a phone interview with Pass and was rather surprised that the guitarist found it difficult to listen to his recordings, as he always felt that he could have played better.

The 1988 broadcast of his appearance at ...

FIRST TIME I SAW

Does Anybody Here Remember Joe?

Read "Does Anybody Here Remember Joe?" reviewed by Craig M. Cortello

Does anybody here remember Joe? That's the question I asked myself in May of 1994 when I learned that my hero had died. As the television show Entertainment Tonight rolled the closing credits one evening, they noted that the legendary jazz guitarist Joe Pass had passed away, while a brief clip from one of his live performances closed the show. I doubt that Mary Hart knew the magnitude of the words she read, but few of the ET viewers probably ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Joe Pass: Virtuoso

Read "Joe Pass: Virtuoso" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Joe Pass was born Joseph Anthony Passalaqua, January 13, 1929 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Pass was born into a blue-collar non-musical family and began to play the guitar when he was 9. The guitarist's father, a steel mill worker, realized early that his son was musically talented and encouraged him to listen to all music and pick out songs by ear. Pass's forward-thinking father also encouraged his son to play pieces not originally written for the guitar and to ...

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Joe Pass: Blues For Fred

Read "Blues For Fred" reviewed by David Rickert

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Joe Pass: Virtuoso in New York

Read "Virtuoso in New York" reviewed by Derek Taylor

When it comes to bountiful vault holdings, few musicians can compare with the oeuvre established by guitarist Joe Pass. As the Pablo label's plectral staple his tape stacks rival and possibly even surpass those of Norman Granz's other resident factotum, Oscar Peterson. The steady crop of titles (one or two each year) that continue to find their way to circulation on disc gives the illusion that virtually ever note he ever picked in studio or on stage was captured by ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Joe Pass: Virtuoso

Read "Virtuoso" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

When considering all the talent that exists in jazz, there exist damn few musicians who can be deemed without peer. Art Tatum and Charlie Parker might be considered as such; Joe Pass might be the definition of a musician without peer. Pass arrived magically on the recording scene in 1962 with The Sound of Synanon (Pacific Jazz 48) named for the famous drug rehabilitation facility whose alumni include Art Pepper, among others.

This was not the true beginning ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Joe Pass: Meditation: Solo Guitar

Read "Meditation: Solo Guitar" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Solo Pass...

I wonder if Norman Granz ever fully appreciated the talent he accumulated beneath the mantle of Pablo Records. Ella, Oscar, Joe, Bill (Basie), Ray, Dizzy, Milt, Jon and the list goes on. Listening to Joe Pass’ Meditation, a previously unissued live set from Yoshi’s recorded in 1992, I can not help but think how Joe Pass is like another Pablo Alum, Art Tatum. Both artists were thoroughly documented by Granz before their deaths; both were exposed in solo ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Joe Pass: The Joe Pass Trio Live At Donte's

Read "The Joe Pass Trio Live At Donte's" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Urbane virtuosity

Any discussion of Jazz guitar will usually lead with three names: Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, and Joe Pass. A native of New Brunswick, New Jersey, Pass performed in the swing bands of Tony Pastor and Charlie Barnett. He spent time in the army, took ten years off with a nagging heroin addiction and in 1962, emerged from the California-based Synanon to record several albums for Pacific Jazz and World Pacific. Pass stayed under the radar until 1973, when ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Joe Pass Trio: Live at Donte's

Read "Live at Donte's" reviewed by Derek Taylor

There’s a popular, if somewhat misguided tendency amongst critical circles to rank musicians by relating them to those who have come before. Specific attention to the standing each one holds in relation to his or her peers in the areas of prowess, impact and artistic originality are just some of the prime determinants. Norman Granz is guilty of it in his liner notes to this release, where he places Joe Pass atop a pedestal on par with Charlie Christian. Ultimately ...


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