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Album Review

When Joe Pass recorded and released this first of his Virtuoso series of albums, he was 44 years old, and ready to reclaim his crown as king of jazz guitar after years of heroin abuse. As a solo artist playing only acoustic guitar in an amplified fusion era, the odds were stacked against him, but Pass boldly issued this, his most creative and improvisation-based work, to mass critical acclaim and widespread general public sales. The genius of Pass was that he was easily able to retain melodic lines of these standards while adding stretched-out, extrapolated thoughts on the top and bottom of the melodies. On every track, with each passing phrase, modified and extended line or poetic thought, Pass proves his unique style is better than all the rest. On the marvelous "Night & Day," classical-flavored "Stella by Starlight" with no small influence of Andres Segovia, faster than the pounding precipitation and pain of "Here's That Rainy Day," or purely improvised "Cherokee," Pass is at the top of his game. He occasionally concentrates more on the melody for the pensive "'Round Midnight" or the fleet "All the Things You Are," but meets any challenge during a masterful remake of "The Song Is You." There can be no doubt as to the essential nature of this incredible recording, a top five item for any jazz guitarist, one of the great modern-day contemporary albums, and essential listening for any serious music lover — a must have item. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Truly Amazing

If you're used to over-compressed, soulless, studio guitar, you should hear what the real thing sounds like. Every tone, percussive effect, and buzz is on this. And I love it. After all these years, this is one of the best jazz guitar albums of all time.

Virtuoso Joe Pass

The first time I heard this CD, I decided to throw out all my guitars and concentrate on playing the Jews Harp. I was floored. What an astounding performance by an astounding musician. Every note was near perfect; every chord progession flawless. Even the squeeks and clicks seemed to vibrate with life. This is a must for any lover of jazz and the jazz guitar. By the way, I kept all my guitars. I threw out my Jews harp. "Night And Day" is almost impossible on that instrument.

An amazing musician and person!

Joe's family and I knew each other well. He was a true musician and his jazz is still the finest out there! This record is an inspiration to guitar players everywhere! I highly recommend this album!


Born: January 13, 1929 in New Brunswick, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Joe Pass did the near-impossible. He was able to play up-tempo versions of bop tunes such as "Cherokee" and "How High the Moon" unaccompanied on the guitar. Unlike Stanley Jordan, Pass used conventional (but superb) technique, and his Virtuoso series on Pablo still sounds remarkable decades later. Joe Pass had a false start in his career. He played in a few swing bands (including Tony Pastor's) before graduating from high school, and was with Charlie Barnet for a time in 1947. But after serving...
Full Bio
Virtuoso, Joe Pass
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