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Porgy and Bess

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Album Review

This is a strange duet album (a Pablo LP reissued on CD in the OJC series). For a set of ten melodies taken from George Gershwin's famous Porgy and Bess, Joe Pass sticks to acoustic guitar while the great pianist Oscar Peterson for the first and only time in his career records exclusively on the clavichord, an instrument from the 1600s that preceded the piano. The clavichord comes across as a mix between a harpsichord and a primitive stringed instrument, and apparently, it cannot be played all that fast. The results are novel at first but rather limited on the whole, making one wonder whose bright idea this was.

Customer Reviews

Porgy and Bess: Joe Pass & Oscar Peterson

Suppose the jazz age blossomed in 18th century Europe! Suppose Oscar Peterson was a string player like his virtuotic friend Joe Pass! What a unique and awesome sound these two created on this old vinyl release, now on CD, and MP3. Peterson is less "noteful" but definetly noteworthy, and his Tatum inspired style still rings through the plucked string of the clavicord. Joe leads, but more so sets a perfect counterpoint on rhythm and with bass lines that offset Peterson's strings, in that distinctive Pass mellow tone. My wife and I loved this album on record, and loved rediscovering here. The Gerswhin opera is the perfect setting for this audacious and joyful experiment in the sounds of very different centuries. This is a little known treasure!

Biography

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,...
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Porgy and Bess, Joe Pass
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