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Two for the Road

Herb Ellis & Joe Pass

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Album Review

This recording was the third and final matchup between guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass and, unlike the first two (which were both made for Concord), this is a duo date rather than a quartet session. Pass was just beginning to gain recognition for his remarkable unaccompanied solos, but Ellis had not recorded in such a sparse setting before. They complement each other quite well on such tunes as "Love for Sale," "Seven Come Eleven," "Oh, Lady Be Good," "I've Found a New Baby," and two versions of "Cherokee." Highly recommended.

Customer Reviews

Two For the Road

I can't believe I'm the first to review this. First got it on vinyl in '75 or so and was my first exposure to both of these player, though I knew them both by reputation. At the time, Pass blew me away, but nowadays, it is Ellis' playing that knocks me out. Pass's technique is tremendous and his harmonic knowledge extensive, but I feel like I have heard it all before somewhere else and that he has played it all before as well.

Ellis, on the other hand plays the SONG every time out. His improvs seem to always echo the tune not just the changes, which I think is a lost art in jazz. His accompaniments (especially the two versions of Cherokee) are also fluid and impeccable.

Don't misunderstand: Joe Pass' work here constitutes a master class in and of itself, but for me Herb Ellis plays the best music. Highly recommended.

Biography

Born: August 4, 1921 in Farmersville, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

An excellent bop-based guitarist with a slight country twang to his sound, Herb Ellis became famous playing with the Oscar Peterson Trio during 1953-1958. Prior to that, he had attended North Texas State University and played with the Casa Loma Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey (1945-1947), and the sadly under-recorded trio Soft Winds. While with Peterson, Ellis was on some Jazz at the Philharmonic tours and had a few opportunities to lead his own dates for Verve, including his personal favorite, Nothing But...
Full Bio
Two for the Road, Herb Ellis
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