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  1. #1

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    He clearly had a lot of technical facility, a great understanding and knowledge of harmony, more chords under his fingers than you can shake a stick at. He was clearly competent as an accompanist or in a band setting, and a lovely chap by all accounts.

    But his chord melody solo stuff, it just 'aint that musical is my unpopular opinion. Who listens to it apart from other guitarists? And do we actually listen to it for pleasure or just when we're trying to learn something?

    Compare this trio setting of Satin Doll with his solo recordings of the same tune:



    I first heard Joe Pass when I was about 16 and I thought then he was technically good, musically meh. I'm in my mid 40s now and I still think that.

    If a jazz pianist sat down and played like Joe Pass, would they be called "great", honestly? Where's the tune? Where's the melody? Where's the rhythm? Where can I hang my hat? There are glimpses of it but they are too few and too far betweem, it's simply not there for the most part.

    I wonder how many none guitarist jazz fans listen to Joe Pass albums?

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  3. #2

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    Well, you are welcome to your opinion. It is in the nature of opinions that they differ. Personally, I dig Joe Pass' playing very much. His endless invention, sense of swing and encyclopedic knowledge of the fretboard have inspired me to keep at it (this jazz thing); and also the acquisition of my ES-175 (at considerable sacrifice). I suspect this is true to one degree or another to a great many of us here at jazzguitar.be (Thanks, Dirk!). There are plenty of other players to dig, and that is as it should be. Have a good one!
    Best regards, k

  4. #3

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    Hes not one of my favorite players personally, but I wouldn't slight his artistry, nor diminish his influence or importance.

    If anything, hes one of few guitar players the rest of the jazz world took seriously. Undeniably one of the absolute greats.

    As for not hearing the melody in his solo improvisations, I think you need to listen closer, really. He also didn't know "more chords than anybody " Joe was actually a big proponent of keeping chord shapes simple and not using stuff you couldn't grab on the fly.

    Honestly, your opinion overall seems uninformed.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  5. #4

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    All I can say is that I always liked his small ensemble recordings, like "Intercontinental", but didn't care at all for his solo recordings.

    I never analyzed it, but I've listened to "Intercontinental", for example, many times over the years, but I don't think I listened to any of this solo recordings more than once. Now that's from memory, and therefore fallible, but that's how I recall it.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post

    As for not hearing the melody in his solo improvisations, I think you need to listen closer, really.
    You shouldn't have to though, that's one of my points. Music shouldn't be an auricular exercise, it should be simply enjoyable. If the audience can't tell what you're playing then you're not playing it right.

    I think us jazz guitarists in particular have a tendency to disappear up our own bottoms sometimes.

  7. #6
    It's often said that music is the universal language. This is not true because, like any language, it takes a certain amount of cultural context and, yes education, to understand what is happening.

    When I was in college, one of my fellow undergrads was from a different culture, a non-western culture whose classical music could be described as a single melodic line played against a drone. To him Beethoven sounded like a bunch of noise.

    Many people can't make sense of Indian classical music, as recorded by Ravi Shankar for example, because they don't understand the intent and context. This is not a put-down, we are all on a path after all. Musicians like Joe Pass were further along that path than perhaps you and I are today.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill View Post
    All I can say is that I always liked his small ensemble recordings, like "Intercontinental", but didn't care at all for his solo recordings.
    Yes I absolutely relate to that.

  9. #8

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    I think you're missing the point of what goes on in jazz, a bit though.

    And Joe was probably among the best ever at playing solo guitar "in time" and the harmony of a tune is always clearly outlined in his improv.

    I think you can criticize the "busy-ness" occasionally, but the criticisms you have posted are just not true.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    And Joe was probably among the best ever at playing solo guitar "in time" and the harmony of a tune is always clearly outlined in his improv.
    This made me think of Joe saying in one of his interviews that it was from playing with Oscar Peterson that he developed the habit of not rehearsing. Joe and Oscar were like-minded about harmony. (Joe says it's because they grew up listening to the same players.) I think one reason Joe was (fairly) popular among non-guitarists is precisely because he had a good sense of melody and an inventive (but not really strange or jarring) approach to harmony.

    That said, I get the preference for small group recordings over solo ones. (I think this goes for most piano players too though.)

    But this solo piece, introduced by Oscar Peterson who called Joe a genius, is fantastic in several ways. And as you say, in time! ;o)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dconeill View Post
    All I can say is that I always liked his small ensemble recordings, like "Intercontinental", but didn't care at all for his solo recordings.

    I never analyzed it, but I've listened to "Intercontinental", for example, many times over the years, but I don't think I listened to any of this solo recordings more than once. Now that's from memory, and therefore fallible, but that's how I recall it.
    Thats exactly how I feel...I loved "Intercontinental" and "for Django", but I never listened to much else. I really an not a jazz guitarist, so I dont understand all the improvisation, I just like to hear the melody and maybe a little doodling...I used to buy records by checking the length of the songs....if they were 8 minutes then I knew the melody would soon be gone and the rest improvisation, and I wouldnt buy it. But in regards to Joe's playing, I consider him a genius of the guitar in all respects. Johnny Smith was criticized as not being a true jazz guitarist, as his "improvisation" was worked out ahead of time and thus not spontaneous...I loved Johnny Smith. But I am coming from a melody background and it is my lack of knowledge and skill, that I dont improvise...I am amazed and awed by those that can !!

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by pcpicker47 View Post
    Johnny Smith was criticized as not being a true jazz guitarist, as his "improvisation" was worked out ahead of time and thus not spontaneous...
    I suspect a very great many of these so called "improvisations" on many recordings have been carefully rehearsed beforehand. Maybe not note for note but the framework is there for sure.

    And in classical music, the "cadenza" is always rehearsed by the soloist, sometimes for years before they record it or play it in a public performance.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    I suspect a very great many of these so called "improvisations" on many recordings have been carefully rehearsed beforehand. Maybe not note for note but the framework is there for sure.
    .
    The framework is worked out...its called "the song."

    Are you suggesting Joe wasn't improvising?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by pcpicker47 View Post
    .. . Johnny Smith was criticized as not being a true jazz guitarist, as his "improvisation" was worked out ahead of time and thus not spontaneous...I loved Johnny Smith....


    "I'm not a jazz player" - Johnny Smith from
    Jazz Guitarist Johnny Smith Interview

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post

    Are you suggesting Joe wasn't improvising?
    I've no idea what he was doing. I'm simply saying I wouldn't be at all surprised if sometimes he didn't know exactly what was coming next. Because he practiced it. That's what professional performance artists do, practice an awful lot, it's absolutely nothing to do with this absurd idea of "talent".

    Like the way actors in the theatre will often rehearse little "mistakes" and the "ad libs" to make a performance seem more "live", yet you go back the next night and it's exactly the same.

  16. #15

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    I dig Joe's chord melody playing and his solo playing.

    I don't listen to him nearly as much as Wes or Grant Green or Peter Bernstein, because I'm more into hardbop these days--that and Jimmy Raney, Tal Farlow, and Billy Bean.

    Now, if we're talking about Joe's single line improvisations... not so much. I think the content of his lines are quite interesting. I just don't like the sound. He does a lot of hammer-on pull off articulations and they are clearly different than his picked or plucked notes. And I was never crazy about his tone.

    That said, he was the first jazz guitarist I ever heard. He's responsible for introducing the jazz guitar world to a lot of concepts. And he knows how to drive a swing feel.

    However, I wonder what the jazz guitar world would look like if as many people who listened to Joe Pass listened to George Van Eps instead. In terms of revolutionary chord melody, GVE takes the cake.

  17. #16

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    Joe Pass’s solo performances are technically amazing, but they usually leave me a bit cold. I guess I feel that he makes the tunes fit his style of playing rather than bringing out the beauty in the melody. For pretty much every tune he plays I think I could find at least one other recording by someone else I like better.

    I don’t deny his great influence on music, and he influenced me as well, but when I want to hear solo guitar I’ll usually play someone else. I love his performances in groups though—the duets with Ella Fitzgerald in particular.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Joe Pass’s solo performances are technically amazing, but they usually leave me a bit cold.......
    For pretty much every tune he plays I think I could find at least one other recording by someone else I like better.

    ......when I want to hear solo guitar I’ll usually play someone else. I love his performances in groups though—the duets with Ella Fitzgerald in particular.
    I thought it was an unpopular opinion but I think the majority of replies so far seem to agree. Technically great, not that enjoyable to listen to.

  19. #18
    I don't like these broad revisionist analyses of players from the past. There simply wasn't anyone playing solo guitar in the way that he did at the time. feels a little like comparing baseball players from decades ago to current players or something.

    Also, Virtuoso is widely considered to be an engineering /recording disaster . They basically lost the mic recording the amp or something? Anyway, that's not so much to do with his actual playing or musicianship.

    The videos of his live performances late in life - solo and unaccompanied - are really so much better than those early recordings. What's the context, and who are we comparing him to?
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 05-12-2019 at 02:28 PM.

  20. #19

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    I know where you're coming from. Sometimes Joe seems so busy cramming as many notes in as possible that it can be exhausting, however...……. I love his Unforgettable album. So tasteful and elegant and a beautiful tone. Ms. darkwaters is a big fan of this album and always remarks on it when it's on the stereo.


  21. #20

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    Padraig couldn’t see what all the fuss was about Wes Montgomery either, in a previous thread. It’s all subjective, ultimately.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Padraig couldn’t see what all the fuss was about Wes Montgomery either, in a previous thread. It’s all subjective, ultimately.
    Haha, yes you're right, I'd forgotten about that it was so long ago. But yeh, I don't. I suppose it was a time and a place. YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes. But then I guess they're piggybacking on decades of collective experience whereas people like Wes invented it.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes.
    I’m sorry, but this statement does make me question your judgement!

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    I’m sorry, but this statement does make me question your judgement!
    Do you not agree? There's a lot of tripe on the Internet but one thing you can't deny about the technology age is that it turns out there are a hell of a lot of very capable people who now have access to an audience. Not just music but every discipline you can think of.

    There are people playing on YouTube that are far better than some of these musicians we like to put on a pedestal as 'legends'.

    An example, ten years ago and the chap has since passed away sadly. But he was a very capable fiddle player:



    As somebody joked on a popular website the other week, "if the Mona Lisa had been painted today it would have got about 44 likes on Instagram and that would have been the end of it"

  25. #24

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    Unpopular opinion Sunday - Joe Pass wasn't all that.-c9ead4ad-712a-41aa-9f49-fbae5866c7da-gif
    Check out my tracks at www.soundcloud.com/billmcmannis

  26. #25
    This.


    Sorry for my part....

  27. #26

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    So padraig, please list your five favorite jazz guitar players who were known recording artists prior to 1970.

  28. #27

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    And your five to ten favorite jazz albums where the guitarist is the leader, and no fusion, gypsy, or Latin artists please just for the time being.

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    So padraig, please list your five favorite jazz guitar players who were known recording artists prior to 1970.
    Gosh, top five is difficult but I can offer some names that are surely in the running?

    Kessel, Jimmy Raney, Rene Thomas, Herb Ellis, Grant Green?

    Dunno, what would your top five be? Good question.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    Haha, yes you're right, I'd forgotten about that it was so long ago. But yeh, I don't. I suppose it was a time and a place. YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes. But then I guess they're piggybacking on decades of collective experience whereas people like Wes invented it.
    Got some examples? Keep them to "tastier", not "more technically difficult". I'm sure that others would be interested as well.

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by zdub View Post
    Got some examples? Keep them to "tastier", not "more technically difficult". I'm sure that others would be interested as well.
    Surely someone like Jens Larsen has assimilated the styles of all the great players that have gone before us and is a monster player? Great tone, smooth as butter, keeping the tradition alive and helping others in the process.

    I'm sure he would be the modest first to say he can't be compared to the greatness of someone like Wes, but realistically, eyes shut and in an AB comparison, he's holding his own at least and arguably more versatile.

    That kind of knowledge was kept very close to a select few chests in the days when livelihoods depended on it.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    Surely someone like Jens Larsen has assimilated the styles of all the great players that have gone before us and is a monster player? Great tone, smooth as butter, keeping the tradition alive and helping others in the process.

    I'm sure he would be the modest first to say he can't be compared to the greatness of someone like Wes, but realistically, eyes shut and in an AB comparison, he's holding his own at least and arguably more versatile.

    That kind of knowledge was kept very close to a select few chests in the days when livelihoods depended on it.
    Sorry, but Larsen is a pro that teaches at Royal Conservatory in The Hague. I was responding to your statement regarding

    "YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes."

  33. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by zdub View Post
    Sorry, but Larsen is a pro that teaches at Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
    Oh ok, so the first one I quote your response is 'nah he doesn't count because he's good'?

    Does he not publish videos on the Internet for free of him playing in his bedroom, lounge, kitchen, home studio, wherever it is?

    Has he got a back catalogue on Verve records has he? Would he be known at all outside of his small circle of students he teaches if it wasn't for YouTube?

    No. But he's demonstrably a class act. And willing to demonstrate his class for free to all our mutual benefit.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    Gosh, top five is difficult but I can offer some names that are surely in the running?

    Kessel, Jimmy Raney, Rene Thomas, Herb Ellis, Grant Green?

    Dunno, what would your top five be? Good question.
    Charlie, Barney, Joe, Wes, George.

    On deck; Martino and Hall

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post

    On deck; Martino and Hall
    Martino. Let's talk about Martino. Very interesting history with his health and how he relearnt to play. I have a lot of respect for his music but I think the way he explains things is utter gobbledegook. When I listen to him talk I think it must be a windup! Like he's worried that people will figure out how simple it is so he talks in riddles hoping that nobody will be able to copy him.

  36. #35

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    If I could just be as bad as Joe Pass for one day.

    I love Joe's solo playing, accompaniment of singers or single instruments and his small group work.

    As to his solo work I can always hear the song, he references the melody often, has great chord movement, bass-lines and that fiery single note bop to add excitement.

    Virtuoso is a monumental achievement.

    Thank you Joe.

  37. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by A. Kingstone View Post
    As to his solo work I can always hear the song, he references the melody often, has great chord movement, bass-lines and that fiery single note bop to add excitement.
    I can't hear the song for the most part. If I sat down and played his solo arrangements and you didn't know it was a Joe Pass arrangement I don't think you would know what I was playing most of the time. He has chord movement but they're indecipherable, he couldn't play like that with an ensemble because it would be a shitshow. He played very differently when he wasn't solo. And that "single note bop"? His tone was anaemic balls. There's nothing "exciting" about it. In the words of the great screenplay by the great Irish writer Roddy Doyle, in the Commitments, it's "musical wanking"

    You're impressed because you're a guitarist. People who are not guitarists are not listening to solo Joe Pass albums. It's tiresome on the ears.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    You shouldn't have to though, that's one of my points. Music shouldn't be an auricular exercise, it should be simply enjoyable. If the audience can't tell what you're playing then you're not playing it right.
    I see. So, the lowest common denominator is what is correct. Does that mean that Britney Spears is a great jazz singer?
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    Haha, yes you're right, I'd forgotten about that it was so long ago. But yeh, I don't. I suppose it was a time and a place. YouTube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes. But then I guess they're piggybacking on decades of collective experience whereas people like Wes invented it.
    Facepalm.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  40. #39

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    It's funny how one thinks one's own opinion is particular to oneself until one finds out it isn't.

    Personally, there's no question about Joe Pass' technical abilities but I agree about his CM style. Of course it's good although I think, after so many years of playing, it got a bit jaded. One got used to the same 'grips' and their sound being repeated. But occasionally he'd push the boat out with an interesting arrangement.

    Unfortunately CM has never appealed that much to me, I can't listen to it for very long. But, out of all the albums that he made, it was... yes... 'Intercontinental' that stood out. Something just gelled on that record and obviously I'm not alone in thinking that.

    Also, I think we've got used to other players now, much more modern, so Joe's style might seem a bit vanilla in comparison. Probably it ought to be looked at pretty well in the light of its time.

    Mind you, Wes Montgomery was around at pretty much the same time and he was sticking in 'out' notes with consummate ease so maybe it was just that Joe was more traditional.

    I think the complaint about not hearing the melody in a solo is wrong. You just heard the melody! If the solo sounds like a revamped melody I don't see the point. But it definitely shouldn't be so alien that it sounds like it belongs somewhere else. But I never heard that from Joe Pass.

    What he did say, though, was that if the backing was removed you should still hear the changes clearly. Which rule is not always heard today, one might add.

    As for the OP, bollocks :-)

  41. #40

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    And of course the greatness of Joe Pass has nothing to do with why a world-renowned player such as the OP gets replies to this stupid thread. You are doing poor old bad-player Joe such a favor by lending your fame and virtuosity to his miserable efforts at hacking out something on solo guitar because I guess he was such a poor player nobody wanted to be in the session with him.

    Seriously, any of us could go into the study and loose half the tracks, produce an album with legendary bad tone, and have millions of copies sell because the playing was still just so amazing people actually listen past the recording problems just to hear the sheer brilliance of it.

    I expect we'll all surpass Joe Pass' solo playing just any day now, in our bedrooms, recording on iPhones.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    Oh ok, so the first one I quote your response is 'nah he doesn't count because he's good'?

    Does he not publish videos on the Internet for free of him playing in his bedroom, lounge, kitchen, home studio, wherever it is?

    Has he got a back catalogue on Verve records has he? Would he be known at all outside of his small circle of students he teaches if it wasn't for YouTube?

    No. But he's demonstrably a class act. And willing to demonstrate his class for free to all our mutual benefit.
    Don't put words in my mouth. I was questioning your assertion that "Youtube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes" and you give as an example a pro that also teaches at a prestigious conservatory. And when challenged you suggest that he provides free material and does some videos from his bedroom so that somehow qualifies him as both an "amateur" and a "bedroom guitarist."

    I'm done here.

  43. #42

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    "Youtube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes"

    I'm sorry, I have to disagree as well. Even within the Wes Montgomery Jazz Competition, no one played "tastier licks than Wes". Grasso, is an amazing player--but he plays from a completely different concept--Bud Powell.

    Wes is more than the notes, it's his groove, his use of rhythm, and his expert use of space (yes, I will obsessed over that last element). Some come close, but they are also professional players NOT amateurs. Jens Larson, since he is a member of the forum, would admit that he is no Wes Montgomery. He's a great player and incredibly generous with what he is doing on Youtube, but he is no Wes. There's a liveliness in Wes's playing that few capture.

    Joe Pass had a talent for accompaniment, most definitely. There's few guitarists that understand how to accompany vocalists at this level. One of them is Mundie, Mundell Lowe. Another was Barry Galbraith. There are very few others. Joe also belongs on that list. Though I love Barney Kessel's playing, I dunno if I'd put him on that list (he'd be close, though).

    Once again, what about George Van Eps? You can't mutter the words "chord melody" without mentioning all of the preliminary work that George Van Eps did. If anything, the way that George Van Eps approached harmony was light years ahead of most guitarists in Joe's circle and beyond.

    GVE does more than drop voicings plus color tones. There's triadic conceptions, contrary motion, intricate inner voicings, and more.

    That's why I mentioned Mundie. He seemed to blend both worlds. Listen to "After Hours" with Sarah Vaughn.

  44. #43

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    Who listens to Joe Pass solo stuff for pleasure? Well, I do. In fact, I listen to that more than anything else. When I want to listen to jazz, that is usually my default.

    But so what? I think it is very musical, you don't. Neither of us get to decide objective truth, although I'll note that Joe Pass' solo albums sold well and he filled live venues with solo performances. That is as close to objective truth about whether he was musical or not.

    That said, I don't see the usefulness to anyone of post like this. All you've said is that an artist with a wide following with acknowledged technical skill doesn't float your boat. Frankly, it comes off as typical trolling:

    1) Find a large group of people who value something you don't. 2) Assume that they must be either crazy or ignorant (or possibly malignant) if they don't share your world view. 3) Go somewhere public where you expect to encounter people you don't agree with to proclaim your disdain, and 4) Challenge them to justify themselves to you with no intention to hear anything they say.

    Too bad. I'm always interested in actual discussion of Joe's technique and music.

    FWIW when you are done trolling here there are some other places that might appreciate you even more:

    NASCAR NATION - NASCAR NATION-Where NASCAR Fans UNITE! -- I'm sure they would love to hear you say that Formula 1 is better than NASCAR.
    PlanetCricket Forums -- Tell them how there are some middle aged backyard MLB enthusiasts who are better batters than Tendulkar ever was.
    Bass Fishing Resource Guide | Fishing For Bass | BassResource.com -- Share your wisdom that ocean sport fishing is the only "real" fishing.

    There are many others. I'm sure other people can give you even more ideas that will keep you busy. Good luck!

  45. #44

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    Joe was the most complete jazz guitarist out of all of his peers. He helped establish that the guitar was a completely legit jazz instrument, with or without a band, in any context. He could hold his own with any jazz musician of his era.

    Having personal prefernces for the players you like is what jazz is all about. More people dislike Miles as a trumpet player over any other. It does't take away from his greatness.

  46. #45

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    "Youtube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes"- that tells us the OP probably has no feel for or idea what the groove is. It's sad, but whatever.

    At the same time, Joe Pass 'Virtuoso' albums put me off jazz and chord-melody as a genre for a loooong time. I detested those records. Later I heard his other albums with groups and accompanying Ella F, and those were great.

    Another funny thing, when I got to meet the head of the jazz department in my first college, who was also a keyboard player and a big band leader and arranger, he told me right away not to listen to Joe Pass or Al Di Meola, but if I must play jazz on guitar, listen to Wes! And surprisingly(but not really) he also approved Sco. He pretty much hated guitarists in jazz, because , in his words, they can't swing proper. Ok, he was an asshole, but he had a point!

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    I'm sure he would be the modest first to say he can't be compared to the greatness of someone like Wes, but realistically, eyes shut and in an AB comparison, he's holding his own at least and arguably more versatile.
    with the same thinking:

    Any student nowadays knows more about science than Newton did (what is the fuss about this so called "gravitation" and F = ma, stupid guy with his apple) so in an AB comparison (say homework on quantum theory) those students will perform better.

    My question: does it mean they are better scientists than Newton?

    ***

    A quick test: Just try to play along with Wes, really identically just a slow one tune. You probably can't. (me neither, to get even close I must repeat a 4 bar section zillion times). So that's the difference: Wes vs others :-)

    Btw: There are many famous guitarists way overrated in the jazz history who are adored in this forum and in the world. Some of them even does not have time feel. I really do not know how could you pick Wes...

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig View Post
    If a jazz pianist sat down and played like Joe Pass, would they be called "great", honestly?
    I think this question apply all jazz guitarists especially from 50s-2010s. Today maybe a bit better the statistics.

    For example if a pianist played what Pat Martino played it is pretty sure he would not be discovered among McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans or Herbie Hancock and zillion others. (but the answer is, that Pat Martino maybe played more sophisticated things if he were a piano player)

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    "Youtube is full of amateur bedroom players knocking out tastier licks than Wes"- that tells us the OP probably has no feel for or idea what the groove is. It's sad, but whatever.

    At the same time, Joe Pass 'Virtuoso' albums put me off jazz and chord-melody as a genre for a loooong time. I detested those records. Later I heard his other albums with groups and accompanying Ella F, and those were great.

    Another funny thing, when I got to meet the head of the jazz department in my first college, who was also a keyboard player and a big band leader and arranger, he told me right away not to listen to Joe Pass or Al Di Meola, but if I must play jazz on guitar, listen to Wes! And surprisingly(but not really) he also approved Sco. He pretty much hated guitarists in jazz, because , in his words, they can't swing proper. Ok, he was an asshole, but he had a point!
    If a jazz teaching whom I was paying real money to for lessons told me Joe Pass could not swing properly, that would be my cue to drop that teacher

    Say what you want about Joe Pass, he could swing hard with the best of them. I don't know what makes someone thing he didn't.

    Honestly, I hear a lot of envy and jealousy in some of the "Joe Pass wasn't so great" talk. Not all of it, but some of it, for sure. His talent was so enormous, his knowledge of the repertoire so comprehensive, his ideas so unceasing, his technical fluency so limitless, and all delivered with a kind of off-hand nonchalance... it would be easy to want to simply slam my eyes shut and say it's not really that great.

    But it was.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarbuddy View Post
    Yesterday I had a brunch gig with a trio I'm a regular sideman in consisting of a vocalist/ukulele player, a bassist, and me on guitar. Normally the vocalist is the bandleader and we play a variety of 1920's and beyond tunes, but through a miscommunication when the gig was booked it turned out they wanted instrumental music for the entire 4 hour brunch, so I became the bandleader and called tunes from memory for the day, the other two reading changes from iReal charts.

    Now I know there are some very capable guitarists who hang out here who also do this kind of thing with ease - some better than me by far - but the vast majority of hobby jazz guitarists would have about as much success pulling this off as I would stepping into a cage and fighting a professional MMA fighter (I practiced martial arts as a hobby for many years).

    And so it is with OP, who admitted less than a year ago that he has trouble following Jamey Aebersold play-alongs, but is comfortable dissing the jazz players who are and were at the top of their fields - Montgomery and Pass to name two obvious examples. These were men who played thousands of jazz gigs under all kinds of circumstances and captured the acclaim of fans and other musicians worldwide, but to OP they were nothing special, especially since amateurs on youtube can play better than they, apparently. TBH it's this kind of BS, along with 20-something amateurs and music students telling me I'm full of crap, that has made hanging out in these kinds of environs less and less interesting anymore.

    So here's my advice to you, OP. Go play thousands of jazz gigs while holding down a full time job (as Wes did) or after a stint in prison (as Joe did), get a recording contract, sell hundreds of thousands of records, and then get back to us. We'll be waiting.
    Absolutely.

    Seems like the better people can play, the more respectful those same people are of other fine players, even when the aesthetic vision is different. Real musicians respect Joe Pass, even if they aren't into what he did. As for "if a pianist played it..." that's just a BS argument. If a pianist played the identical melodies Miles Davis played, it would be awful because the piano is different from the trumpet. A pianist who only played the single-lines of Charlie Parker would not be great because the sax is not the piano. The pianist has 88 keys, 10 fingers, 10-15 inches of reach on the keyboard, hundreds of pounds of instrumental resonance to back him up... he damn well better do more with that.

    Guitar's genius and vexation is its limitations. But Goethe reminds us "In der Beschränkung macht sich erst der Meister." Joe Pass mastered the limitations and took us new places within them. Hell, he didn't even down-tune the 6th string. Kept the goal posts in place, and just ran plays nobody thought he could run.

    A guitarist who can keep up a convincing harmonic framework, punctuated rhythmically by the impression of a walking bass, playing standards and then improvising harmonically and melodically over them at the same time, not just playing organ-like stretch chords (GVE) but also putting in long bop lines and utterly spontaneous key-changes, rhythmic change-ups, and the periodic joke... no wonder "Virtuoso" seemed to be a totally okay thing to call Joe Pass.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  51. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by guitarbuddy View Post
    TBH it's this kind of BS, along with 20-something amateurs and music students telling me I'm full of crap, that has made hanging out in these kinds of environs less and less interesting anymore.
    And its sanctimonious nonsense like this that puts young people off getting involved in jazz at all.