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Virtuoso In New York by Joe Pass

Ten years after his death, Joe Pass (1929-1994) continues to be one of the most prominent guitarists in jazz history. Young guitar students listen to his recordings and still wonder how he generated so much music from the seven string instrument he jokingly called a "laptop piano."

Pablo Records released Virtuoso In New York offering a short (49 minutes) but delicious session recorded in the summer of 1975. It’s difficult to pigeonhole a player like Pass. Although influenced by Charlie Christian and Django, he was sometime termed a be-bopper while others placed him in a more mainstream category. Everyone agrees that Joe Pass was an absolute master of his guitar. Some compared him to pianist Art Tatum strictly because of his superior knowledge of his chosen instrument.

This solo performance is Joe Pass at his very best. As always, the guitarist flies through almost unnoticed key changes leaving the listener in disbelief. Pablo issued two full takes of the guitarist’s own composition, Blues For Alagarn and it’s a very pretty blues. Pass’ version of When Your Lover Has Gone rivals any other in recent memory short of Eddie Condon’s classic recording featuring Bobby Hackett, but that was many moons ago. Listeners who enjoy finger-busting technique will love I Never Knew and Kurt Weill’s Moritat a.k.a. Mack The Knife.

Norman Granz contributed immeasurably to the jazz we hear today and many experts insist that Joe Pass was his greatest discovery during the 1970s.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joe Pass
  • CD Title: Virtuoso In New York
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Pablo Records
  • Tracks: I Never Knew; Ghost Of a Chance; We’ll Be Together Again; Blues For Alagarn; The Way You Look Tonight; How Long Has This Been Going On; Moritat; When Your Lover Has Gone; Blues For Alagarn (Take1).
  • Musicians: Joe Pass (solo guitar).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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