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Looking to get into Joe Pass

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darkshade View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 11:55am
I see Joe Pass has an extensive discography. What's a good place to start? Ive heard Joe Pass before, but couldn't tell you what it was.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 12:01pm
He's an incredible guitarist, I have a couple of his albums, but I don't know if they are the best. The critics seem to be very big on his "Guitar Virtuoso" series.
He's pretty solid throughout his career and rarely gave in to commercial concerns or latest trends, most of his recordings are quite good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 12:17pm
I'll look into the "Guitar Virtuoso" series. How about, what's his best known era, if there is one?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 1:19pm
Joe did his best playing in the 70s, once again during the time of the Virtuoso series. He didn't get much press because fusion was the in thing at the time, but I recall professional musicians being very enthusiastic about his playing and upset with his lack of popularity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 1:26pm
I was thinking looking into the 70s, as he's one of those guys who did great jazz in the 70s without doing fusion.

Looking at wikipedia

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Virtuoso is an album by jazz guitarist Joe Pass, released in 1973. Despite only having one original composition ("Blues for Alican"), it is widely considered to be his best album, as well as one of the best jazz guitar albums. All About Jazz described it as "...the recording to announce that Joe Pass had arrived", and said that he had "...accomplished, using standard guitar performance techniques, to play lead melody lines, chords, and bass rhythm simultaneously and at tempo, giving the listener the impression that multiple guitars were being played".[3]

The remaster uses 20-bit K2 Super Coding System technology and also includes liner notes by Benny Green[disambiguation needed].

Virtuoso outsold nearly every other release in the Pablo catalog and established Pass as the premier mainstream jazz guitarist of the time.[4]


Sounds like a good one to start with, yes?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 1:36pm
Yeah, I would start with that one, looks like I own it on vinyl too. I'll be listening to this later.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 3:05pm
Now its later ...

I'm listening to it now. I forgot that it is only solo guitar. If you are looking for a rhythm section, you might want to look elsewhere. His playing is incredible, I know guitar players and guitar freaks in general love this stuff, to me, the solo guitar format is best in less than whole album doses though. Overall, I'm happy to have this one, but I'm going to see if I have him on one with a rhythm section too.
By the way, I reviewed an album he did with Herb Ellis in the Herb Ellis section.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 3:12pm


Album · 1974 · Bop
Cover artBuy this album from MMA partners
js
Guitar playing doesn’t get much better than this. “Two for the Road” was Herb Ellis and Joe Pass’ third album together, but the first one where they dropped their backing quartet and decided to go at it with just their two guitars. The lack of backing band is nice because every note and nuance from these two virtuosos can be heard clearly. Herb and Joe work together flawlessly, constantly weaving solo lines and comping chords together like poetry in motion and they never step on each other’s toes or sound clumsy. Although both take the time to show off ample technique, there is never any gratuitous shows of speed or pointless flash.

At first I wasn’t clear on which guitarist was which, but then I noticed in the very comprehensive liner notes on the LP that Ellis points out that Pass is coming from a Parkeresque bebop style, while he is channeling a more old school Charlie Christian style. This sums it up well as Pass is more likely given to fast scales and risky runs that push his playing to the limit while Ellis is more apt to stay in the pocket with a swingin bluesy approach. These differences are quite subtle as more often than not, once they start weaving in and out of each other, they sound like one mind and one voice. Its especially interesting when they both solo at once during brief sections of interplay, I think most others trying this would sound like a mess, but their rhythms are so precise that such busy interplay always sounds light and clean.

The choice of material on here is good, mostly they stay away from over played standards and focus more on blues centered numbers. That old guitaristic swing blues is the common ground that gives these two a springboard to work off of. There are no duds on this album, but a favorite is album closer, “Angel Eyes”, where the two slow down for a dark smoky classic noir urban jazz-blues, the kind you would hear in an old black and white crime movie. Also of special interest are the two versions of "Cherokee". The first one is played at break neck speed as Pass plays a furiously fast solo and proves why he may be the greatest guitarist ever. The second version is entirely different with a laid back sunny swingin effect. Highly recommended for fans of great guitar playing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 3:21pm
Ha ha, looks like the "buy" link is still active. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 3:27pm
I would definitely want to get Virtuoso and Two For the Road eventually, but I would like to start with one that has a rhythm section, yknow, full band or whatever.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 5:20pm
A lot of his own albums seem to be just him on guitar, which is what I'll check out soon (probably the first Virtuoso album). But how does this one look?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_at_Donte's


Edited by darkshade - 27 Jun 2012 at 5:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 5:25pm
I don't know why that link isn't working. This one should work: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=9646
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 5:37pm
^ nice untypical song list, I could do without "Sweet Georgia Brown", but that looks like a good one.
I have to agree with you, I would prefer the rhythm section too, although the double guitar with Ellis is surprisingly effective.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2012 at 7:45pm
I decided to give in and check out Virtuoso, it's on Spotify.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2012 at 1:22pm
Virtuoso was nice. I liked it for what it is; solo jazz guitar, though I thought he played electric guitar too, maybe I'm wrong. I'd still like to hear his work with a full band, at the least bass and drums.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2012 at 1:37pm
It is electric guitar    ...no distortion. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2012 at 2:53pm
Haha.

It sounded like an electro-acoustic to be honest. I meant I thought he played a regular electric. I also remember his tone being warmer, but it was live so I don't know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2012 at 3:04pm
You can see the top of the guitar on the album cover, looks like a Gibson hollow body to me.
Jazz guitarists love those hollow bodys, they sound good for jazz, but they sound too full for playing anything else.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2012 at 3:12pm
Yea, that's what it is.

So he played something like this?



I thought he also played a guitar like this?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2012 at 3:14pm
The toggle switch on the album cover looks like a Gibson to me, but I'm no guitar expert, but I do love the sound of Gibson solid bodies, such nice sustain.
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