Archive for the Joe PASS Category

Joe PASS – Sounds of Synanon 1961

Posted in JAZZ, Joe PASS on December 10, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Joe PASS – Sounds of Synanon 1961
2002 Issue.


Joe Pass (1929 – 1994) began playing the guitar when he was nine years old and by age fourteen he was playing in local bands in the Johnstown Pennsylvania area. In 1947, at eighteen, he went on the road with the Tony Pastor band for a short time before returning to high school. He appears on several Pastor recordings from this period as a rhythm player.
He left school again shortly after returning and began playing in and around New York. During this time in New York he started using drugs and he began a decline that ultimately ended with time in several rehabilitation centers and jail. During this time Pass continued to play and he appeared on a handful of commercial recordings.
After being busted several times and spending more than 10 years trying to kick drugs, Pass entered the Synanon Center in California. After 15 months in Synanon Joe Pass made his famous Sounds of Synanon (1961) recording with Arnold Ross, another Synanon resident. Following this recording Pass worked in the Los Angeles studios for more than 10 years before he signed with the Norman Granz’s Pablo label. It was with this label that Pass made many of his most essential recordings, including his famous Virtuoso series.
In the Virtuoso series of solo guitar recordings Joe Pass redefined solo guitar playing. His complete mastery of finger style playing brought a new depth and complexity to solo guitar. These solo recordings and his solo concerts made him famous. He was consistently listed in the jazz polls year after year mostly based on the success of his solo work. During this same period at Pablo he recorded a set of records with Ella Fitzgerald on which he provided accompaniment with his solo guitar. These recordings remain some of the very best examples of vocal accompaniment with the solo guitar.
It was with the solo guitar that Joes Pass had his greatest influence, but he was also one of the best small group (Live At Donte’s) ensemble players of his time. Throughout the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s Joe Pass recorded several important jazz recordings with some of the best jazzmen of the time. He recorded with Oscar Peterson (The Trio), Conti Candoli (Better Days), Chet Baker (A Sign Of The Times), J.J Johnson (We’ll Be Together Again), Duke Ellington (Duke’s Big Four) and most of the best west coast jazz players. He formed a special relationship with John Pisano and together they made a number of recordings that were showcases for Joe Pass’ amazing prowess as a soloist and Pisano’s amazing abilities as a rhythm player. Joe Pass rose to prominence as a jazz guitarist on the strength of his solo playing, but his total discography describes a complete musician able to perform in any venue.
In 1947 – 1950 when Joe Pass was in New York, players like Billy Bauer, Bill DeArango and Johnny Smith were the top players in the studios and on the local jazz scene. While they were making jazz guitar history Joe Pass was consumed by drugs and dropped out of sight for 12 years. But, with his enormous talent, Joe Pass still found his rightful place as one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century.
A significant recording, as this is Joe Pass’ debut on vinyl. It was recorded while Pass was still a patient at the Synanon Drug Center in California. Made with fellow patients, Pass proved to be a star. It is interesting to note that Pass played an electric solid-body rock guitar, as he did not even own a guitar at this time. His legendary chops are especially evident on “Projections” and “Hang Tough,” featuring some of his cleanest playing ever recorded. His accompanists prove to be adequate, but hardly approach the genius of Pass. A landmark recording in the history of jazz guitar.
By Robert Taylor, All Music Guide.
Joe Pass- (Guitar),
Arnold Ross- (Piano),
Ronald Clark- (Bass),
Greg Dykes- (Horn Baritone),
Dave Allen- (Trumpet),
Candy Latson– (Bongos),
Bill Crawford- (Drums).
01. C.E.D. (Pass, Ross) 3:14
02. Aaron’s Song (Allan) 4:30
03. Stay Loose (Ross) 4:22
04. Projections (Dykes) 5:10
05. Hang Tough (Pass) 6:30
06. Self-Image (Allan) 9:06
07. Last Call for Coffee (Ross) 4:43
08. Blues 4:36

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Herb ELLIS, Joe PASS, Ray BROWN, Jake HANNA – Arrival 1973

Posted in Herb ELLIS, Jake HANNA, JAZZ, Joe PASS, Ray BROWN on November 24, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Herb ELLIS, Joe PASS, Ray BROWN, Jake HANNA – Arrival 1973
2003 Issue.


For lovers of guitar jazz, inspired pairings like Joe Pass and Herb Ellis make for special outings. While both players prospered in a number of settings, they brought out a new quality in each other when paired together, bumping up the energy a notch or two. Arrival is special because it reissues the duo’s first two albums with Concord: Jazz/Concord in 1973 and the live Seven, Come Eleven in 1974 (also Concord’s first two albums). The quartet is completed by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna, two fine players who keep the program bopping along. Both discs, filled with reliable standards, are excellent in different ways. Arrival kicks off with “Look for the Silver Lining,” which bounces along like the perfect daydream for nearly five minutes. The stereo separation of the two guitars sounds great on the hi-fi, and renditions of “Stuffy” and “Georgia” are fantastic. Seven, Come Eleven begins with “In a Mellow Tone” but really blasts off with the title track, a Charlie Christian/Benny Goodman tune played faster than one can imagine anyone’s fingers moving. This set, unlike Jazz/Concord, feeds from the energy of the audience. While the roots of both of these recordings date back to swing, the music never sounds like a nostalgia trip. Instead, these discs have captured Pass and Ellis in the moment, delivering crisp solos and dense accompaniment. Arrival offers two great CDs and a chance to check out, or revisit, two great guitarists.
By Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
The very first release by the Concord label (recorded at the 1973 Concord Jazz Festival) was a quartet set featuring guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna. Ellis and Pass (the latter was just beginning to be discovered) always made for a perfectly complementary team, constantly challenging each other. The boppish music (which mixes together standards with “originals” based on the blues and a standard) is quite enjoyable with the more memorable tunes including “Look for the Silver Lining,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Georgia,” “Good News Blues” and “Bad News Blues.” This was a strong start for what would become the definitive mainstream jazz label.
This is, above all, a fun album–the musicianship is superb and the group was obviously enjoying themselves during the performance, which comes across clearly in the recording. All the songs are exceptional, but to me the standout is “Concord Blues”–it absolutely flies, both with the chugging rhythm section and the guitar interplay. The Pass solo (the second of the two) starts off softly and then builds to the point that all someone on the recording can do is whistle (whew!) with the perfection of it.
Herb Ellis- Guitar
Joe Pass- Guitar
Ray Brown- Bass
Jake Hanna- Drums
Arrival: Jazz/Concord/Seven, Come Eleven CD 1:
01. Look for the Silver Lining 4:47
02. Shadow of Your Smile 2:30
03. Good News Blues 3:22
04. Honeysuckle Rose 3:07
05. Happiness Is the Concord Jazz Festival 3:54
06. Stuffy 5:07
07. Georgia on My Mind 5:24
08. Love for Sale 3:48
09. Bad News Blues 5:17

Arrival: Jazz/Concord/Seven, Come Eleven  CD 2:
01. In a Mellow Tone 7:32
02. Seven Come Eleven 5:09
03. Prelude to a Kiss 5:34
04. Perdido 4:51
05. I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You) 5:12
06. Easy Living 4:32
07. Concord Blues 8:49

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