Joe Pass Documentary: The Blue Side of Jazz (2006)

Joe Pass – The Blue Side of Jazz (2006 documentary)

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00:00 blues 01:18 “hello fellow guitarists” 03:12 ending a tune 05:38 12 bar blues 06:18 V ↔ I 06:53 half step above I (♯I ~ V) 07:58 half step above IV (♯IV ~ I) 08:42 half step below I (bI7 → I) more specifically (bI13b9 → I) 10:00 “On the guitar, a lot of playing is with forms and continuity” 10:37 half step above IV (♯IV → IV), here using ♯IV13 11:19 half step above IV (♯IV → IV), but changing the root to the b5 (which is the I) 11:56 IV → IV♯dim (IV♯dim ~ (bI13b9)

13:22 turnaround: C9 B7 E7 Am11 D7 G7 (keeping a common tone—the note D) 14:28 12 bar blues (basic) 15:02 12 bar blues (with more subs) 15:58 12 bar blues (with other voicings) — many good voicings 17:32 turnaround 18:06 the importance of continuity in chordal improvisation 21:20 12 bar blues (with voice leading and pedal tones) 22:52 “I’m using a lot of the same grips, they’re bar forms. They’re chords that all guitar players learn and know” 23:53 12 bar blues

24:20 dom7 ↔ m7 25:10 +examples 25:33 the importance of common tones (in changes) 26:47 “Always count 1, 2, 3, 4. I don’t know why” 😂 26:53 12 bar blues 27:07 moving chords down chromatically (C13 B13 Bb13/E A13) 27:46 “you can always move chords either chromatically or through a cycle” 28:35 variation (moving down chromatically) 29:30 12 bar blues (with many 251s), 50s/60s style 30:27 same above

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30:57 blues 50s style 31:55 alternative version 33:14 again 33:52 pinky chordal movement (I IV V anchored in I) 34:12 don’t do things that break the flow of music 34:47 most guitar greats use mainly simple barred forms 36:09 lines that come from simple forms 37:06 “don’t play any chords with four fingers that you can play with two or one” 41:52 another blues variation 42:27 using diminished chords as dom7 chords 43:01 another blues 45:50 Joe checking why his lick wasn’t working 49:59 another blues

Joe Pass

On January 13, 1929, the jazz musician of Sicilian origin Joe Pass was born in New Brinswick (New Jersey) , considered one of the great guitarists of the genre of the 20th century. His style of forming melodies with chords, the use of ‘walking bass’ techniques and melodic counterpoints during his improvisations, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of inversions and chord progressions, opened up numerous new possibilities of expression for jazz electric guitar. , which meant a great influence on future instrumentalists of the genre.

Born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua, he was the eldest of five children born to Mariano Passalaqua, a former steelworker from Sicily. While still a child, his family moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where Joe was drawn to guitars after seeing a movie starring one of the ‘singing cowboys’ of the day, Gene Autry.

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His interest was rewarded when he turned nine when he received a Harmony $17 guitar with metal strings as a gift from his father. Although there was no musical background in the family, his father must have seen something in Joe, when he urged him to practice several hours a day on the instrument. “My father didn’t want a blue-collar future for me and did everything in his power to further my education,” Pass recalled on Down Beat, “He would go into music stores and bring home any book or method in the for the word ‘guitar’ to appear in the title”.

At fourteen, Joe had joined a band called the Gentlemen of Rhythm , whose repertoire consisted of the music of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt . They used to play private parties and dances, where Pass earned three or four dollars a night. His talent on the guitar caught the attention of saxophonist and bandleader Tony Pastor who let him play one night with them at a local concert. Pastor , impressed, wanted to take him on tour with him, but Pass couldn’t leave school yet.

A year later, his parents sent him to New York to receive lessons from the respected studio guitarist Harry Volpe. When he noticed that Pass improvised better than him, he focused on teaching him to read sheet music, which frustrated Joe, who returned to Johnstown, but not for long.

“My father was a very strict man,” the guitarist told Rolling Stone, “so when he got sick, he couldn’t put as much pressure on me anymore. That was my chance to get out of the house. I came to New York in ’45, and I hung around for a while. I played in a few little bands and got a chance to see Bird and Tatum live. Then I fell off with drugs.”

In fact, his addictions began to run his life. He traveled to New Orleans, where he had access to all kinds of drugs. There he stayed for a year, playing in strip clubs. The following year, Joe Pass traveled from city to city playing wherever he could.

In 1949, he joined Ray McKinley’s band, but had to leave when Ray discovered that he was unable to read sheet music for arrangements. In the early fifties, Pass continued to play in various locations and from time to time he was arrested for possession of narcotics. “Getting high was the first of my priorities. Playing was the second, and the third, the girls and the sex. But the first one took all my energy.”

In 1954, Joe Pass was arrested again and sent to a hospital in Fort Worth (Texas) belonging to the National Health Service, where he remained for four years. Two years later he entered the Synanon drug rehabilitation center in Santa Monica (California) where he spent another three years. There, Pass began to enjoy his guitar skills again and take his career as a musician more seriously.

“Many kids think that to be a good guitarist you have to hit the road and be a drug addict for a few years, and that’s not true. I don’t remember a single moment of that stage that can be described as a moment in which I learned something. I passed most years just going with the flow, not making any progress at all. It was a terrible waste of time.” At Synanon, he recorded his first album, ‘Sounds of Synanon’, along with other musicians who were also patients of the center.

After leaving Synamon in 1963, Pass recorded ‘Catch Me!’, his first album as a leader, with drummer Colin Bailey, pianist Clare Fischer and bassist Albert Stinson. The following year, he recorded a tribute to Django Reinhardt called ‘For Django’, followed by ‘Simplicity’ two years later. He also did studio work as a session guitarist, played in TV orchestras, and, between 1965 and 1967, accompanied pianist George Shearing.

After leaving Synamon in 1963, Pass recorded ‘Catch Me!’, his first album as a leader, with drummer Colin Bailey, pianist Clare Fischer and bassist Albert Stinson. The following year, he recorded a tribute to Django Reinhardt called ‘For Django’, followed by ‘Simplicity’ two years later. He also did studio work as a session guitarist, played in TV orchestras, and, between 1965 and 1967, accompanied pianist George Shearing.

Precisely with Herb Ellis he suggested a duet in 1971, to merge his bebop riffs with Ellis’s blues style. The two teamed up and became one of the most famous and influential two-guitar formations in jazz. Carl Jefferson invited them to play at the 1972 Concord Jazz Festival, the event at which the first album for the new Concord Records label, ‘Jazz Concord’, was recorded. In the following year’s edition, Pass and Ellis recorded ‘Seven Come Eleven’ (1973).

That same year, Pass was asked by legendary bandleader Benny Goodman to fill in for his guitarist at one of his concerts. Joe’s performance so impressed Goodman that he took him with his orchestra on a tour of Australia.

Upon his return, Pass signed a contract with the new label founded by Norman Granz, Pablo Records, and immediately began recording his first solo album, ‘Virtuoso’ (1974), considered by many his best work and one of the best albums. of jazz guitar in history. The success of the album would spawn a series of sequels: ‘Virtuoso No.2’ (1976), ‘No. 3’ (1977), ‘No. 4’ (1983) and ‘Virtuoso Live’ (1991).

On the album ‘The Trio’, also from 1974, Pass plays with Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. This work deserved a Grammy for ‘best jazz group performance’. As part of the Pablo Records staff, Joe participated in recordings by -among others-Benny Carter, Milt Jackson, Herb Ellis, Zoot Sims, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, being the guitarist during the 70s and 80s. more engraving in the industry.

With Ella Fitzgerald he recorded several albums at the end of the singer’s career, including ‘Take Love Easy’ (1973), ‘Fitzgerald and Pass… Again’ (1976) and ‘Easy Living’ (1986).

In 1989 Joe reunited with the group that accompanied Django Reinhardt on his recordings, rhythm guitarist John Pisano, drummer Colin Bailey and bassist Jim Hugbart, to record ‘Summer Nights’. ‘Appassionato’ appeared with the same formation in 1992.

That year Joe discovered that he had cancer. He responds positively to treatment and continues to perform for the rest of the year, but his health began to suffer, forcing him to stop touring.

He recorded his last album, ‘Joe Pass & Co’ with Pisano, Bailey and bassist Monty Budwig. On May 7, 1994, Pass performed his last performance at a Los Angeles nightclub. “He still sounded like the best,” Pisano recalled in Guitar Player, “but when that show was over, he looked at me with tears in his eyes saying ‘I can’t play anymore.’ That was like a stab straight to the heart.”

Joe Pass died a few days later, at age 65. In a tribute to Guitar Payer magazine, critic Jim Ferguson summed up his career as a guitarist: “Bebop, Latin, ballads, blues, own songs, solos, duets, trios, big band…Joe did it all. There’s no such thing as an instrumentalist.” in recent memory having made so many recordings in so many different styles and contexts, Joe Pass was quite possibly the most versatile and well-rounded guitarist in history.”

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