Saturday, May 13, 2017

Joe Pass - Solo, Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975

Joe Pass 1975 (photo courtesy Tom Marcello Webster, Wikipedia)
Joe Pass (1929 - 1994) is generally considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century. His sophisticated style of chord-melody, with an outstanding knowledge of chord inversions and progressions, extensive use of walking basslines, and melodic counterpoint during improvisation, opened up new possibilities for the jazz guitar and had a profound influence on later guitarists.
In addition to his ensemble performances, Joe Pass is regarded as an influential solo guitarist. His solo style was marked by an advanced linear technique, sophisticated harmonic sense, counterpoint between improvised lead lines, bass figures and chords, spontaneous modulations, and transitions from fast tempos to rubato passages. He would regularly add what he called "color tones" to his compositions, to give what he believed was a more sophisticated and "funkier" sound. He would often use melodic counterpoint during improvisation, move lines and chords chromatically or play melodies by solely shifting chords, and descending augmented arpeggios at the end of phrases. - As Pass made the transition from ensemble to solo guitar performance, he preferred to abandon the pick altogether, and play fingerstyle. He found this enabled him to execute his harmonic concepts more effectively. (info excerpted from Wikipedia, here
Joe Pass at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975 (OJC CD, 1997)
Joe Pass recorded four studio albums of solo jazz guitar with the title Virtuoso for Norman Granz's Pablo label during the 1970s, these recordings are considered essential in demonstration of Pass' solo style. However, aside from studio recordings there were also released some live recordings of Pass' solo performances by the Pablo label, among them were the shown Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975 recorded during two concerts on July 17 and 18. The LP issue was reissued on CD 1997 by OJC and is still available for purchase, here
There are eleven tracks from the solo live performance of Joe Pass at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975 on the CD, mostly standards but also three Pass compositions (info, here). The performance at the two concerts July 17 and 18 was also recorded on video, below I'll insert a couple of examples uploaded at You Tube. Here is first Joe Pass performing Stevie Wonder's popular tune You Are the Sunshine of My Life 

Another video fragment from the same live performance has Joe Pass playing Ray Noble's The Very Thought Of You 

To end this small presentation of a magnificent jazz guitar solo live album, I'll insert the uploaded audio video from You Tube of Joe Pass' solo performance of Django Reinhardt's Nuages - enjoy!


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