Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All Things Emily

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Jim Ferguson on Joe Pass

Irascible yet funny and warm, a high school dropout yet very well-read, Joe Pass had more than his share of personal contradictions. Cigar chomping and adorned with a bristling moustache that hardly compensated for his baldness, he may have looked like a longshoreman or truck driver, but his music eloquently spoke of his brilliance as a world-class guitarist, one who ultimately commanded the respect of many of jazz' top figures. Given his awesome technique, competitive spirit, ability to shape long lines in a group context, and jaw-dropping approach to solo guitar-where he freely wove walking bass lines, sleek chordal passages, and deft single-note phrases into rich musical tapestries-he easily qualifies as the most versatile player in the annals of jazz, and arguably was the greatest mainstream guitarist since Wes Montgomery. [continue reading ....]