Joe Pass


In addition to his ensemble performances, the jazz community regards Joe Pass most significantly as a peerless solo guitarist. His solo style was marked by a sophisticated harmonic sense, counterpoint between improvised lead lines, bass figures and chords, spontaneous modulations, transitions from fast tempos to rubato passages, and a total command of the instrument. Pass's early style (influenced by saxophonist Charlie Parker, but not guitarist Django Reinhardt despite common misconception), was marked by fast single-note lines and a flowing melodic sense. Pass had the unusual lifelong habit of breaking his guitar picks in half and playing only with the smaller part. 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. His series of solo albums, "Virtuoso" (volumes 1 through 4) are a demonstration of Pass's excellent technique.
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