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--- Jun 20 2000 Go to category
Subject: Joe Pass
Category: Other Musicians
From: Juan Sgolastra (Italia)

Hi Pat, Mucally I have grown up with the fantastic 70's and, most of all, under the influence of John Mclaughlin. In those years, many people approched jazz thanks to him. Likewise, in the 80-90's, many people did it thanks to you. Many guitarists produce and continue to do so beautiful things but I think that in hystory of modern guitar, the ones who have written the greatest pages are John Mclaughlin and you. I have not considerer classic Jazz guitar beacause I think belong to a different kind of histoy, even though there is an obvious connection. My question is: I have never you mention people like Joe Pass and his carrier: do you have any favotite record of his? Thank You! Juan

Pat’s Answer:

hi juan,

thanks for the compliment and i am glad you like the music so much.

it is always a pleasure for me to remember and talk about joe pass. he was a real favorite for me from the first minute that i heard his record "for django" that he made in the mid to early 60's. his playing on that record is some of the greatest, freshest, most original bebop guitar playing ever. it seemed like every line was carved in marble, each little arc and detail was so inevitable, even at breakneck tempos. every note he played on that record was so deliberate, so weighed and measured for its impact on the entire shape of the solo. he does a version on there of "limehouse blues" that is one of my favorite guitar solos that anyone has ever gotten onto tape - i can still sing it my head as i type this, and i haven't gotten that record out in a long time - it is that memorable to me.

and as if that weren't enough - joe did something that i think really eluded everyone until he figured out a way to do it, and that is to find a way to play solo, REALLY solo, that was as effective, entertaining and OPEN-ENDED the way a great solo piano concert can be. i know for me, until i heard him do it, i couldn't really imagine how one could just sit on stage all alone for an entire concert with a focus on the complete jazz guitar tradition and make it happen to the degree that joe did. my favorite of this aspect of joe is his record "live in akron".

i think when you talk about joe, you have to mention his unique sound and touch too, he really had a kind of attack that i don't think any of the many people who have been influenced by him have ever figured out how to emulate - he played so firm, yet it was still so light in a really good way, so swinging: he really avoided that heavier, stiff thing that can happen with the very precise articulation that he favored. and of course, he had AMAZING time - his stuff just grooved like crazy - you can really hear it when he played solo; there was just so much forward motion and momentum at work there.

to top it off, he was an incredibly nice man. we met a number of times over the years and he was always very supportive - and very funny. i really miss him. but i am happy that he left behind a pretty well documented view of music. i'm gonna try to get a copy of "for django" right now!

thanks from pat m.