Blue Moon (Guitar arr.) as performed by JOE PASS (sheet music)

Blue Moon (Guitar arr.) as performed by JOE PASS (sheet music)

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Joe Pass

Born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua , January 13, 1929, New Brunswick, NJ; died of liver cancer, 23 May 1994); married to his wife Allison, 1963; married Ellen Luders, 1987; children: two.

Over almost 50 years as a professional guitarist, Joe Pass, managed to break many barriers and obstacles, both in the music and in your own life. Born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua, the oldest of five siblings in New Brunswick, New Jersey, his parents moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, when he was still a child. Pass became interested in the guitar when he saw Gene Autry in the movie Ride Tenderfoot Ride. Autry aroused his curiosity about the instrument and what motivated him to ask for a guitar for his birthday.

When he turned nine years old in 1938, the father of Pass, Mariano Passalaqua, gave her a guitar of steel wire rope of $17 Harmony. Soon, Passalaqua pushed his son to practice the guitar for at least five hours a day. “My father thought that I was showing signs of being able to play,” said Pass in Down Beat. “And his goal in life was not that his children did the same to him: to work in a steel factory. I wanted all of them to have a better education, or some kind of better way of life. My father was going to the music store, and if I saw a book that dijera’guitar’ on it, brought them home.”

For when I Pass she turned 14, he joined a band called the Gentlemen of Rhythm that was inspired by the music of legendary guitarist gypsy Django Reinhardt. The group showed up at parties and dances, and Pass won from three to five dollars per night. His talent caught the attention of saxophonist and bandleader Tony Pastor, who allowed him to play with his band at a concert by local. Pastor wanted to take it to the road with him, but Pass could not leave the school to do so.

A year later, the parents Pass sent him to New York to study with the respected guitarist of study Harry Volpe. When Volpe realized that Pass improvise better than him, focused on the teaching of reading music at first sight. But the Pass was frustrated with his lessons and he returned to Johnstown, but not for long. When his father became ill, he dropped out of the tenth grade, and moved to New York.

“My father was very strict, but he became ill and could no longer hold back,” said Pass to Rolling Stone. “It was my chance to leave. I came to New York, and was here in 1944 and’45 spinning. I played in some concerts, I heard a Bird[saxophonist Charlie Parker] and[pianist] Art Tatum. Then, I got involved in drugs.”

The drug addiction of Pass, in fact, began to carry on with his life. He moved to New Orleans for a year, where he played bebop to the strippers. “In New Orleans, I had a kind of nervous crisis” revealed Pass in Rolling Stone, “because I had access to all kinds of drugs there, and I was awake for days. Always wanted my guitar. Would come much to New York, then I would be nervous, and I would go”.

The following year, the Pass began to travel from one place to another, acting where I could. In 1949, he joined the band leader Ray McKinley, but he resigned when he discovered that the arrangements were beyond their reading skills. During the early years of the decade of 1950, the Pass played in Las Vegas and other cities across the country. At the same time, I was in and out of jail for violations of narcotics. Stay on the top was my first priority,” said Pass to Robert Palmer in Rolling Stone, “play was second; the girls were third”. But the first thing I really took away all my energy.”

In 1954 Pass was arrested for drug charges and sent to the Hospital of the Public Health Service of the United States in Fort Worth, Texas. He spent four years there, then returned to Las Vegas to join the trio of accordionist Dick Contino. In the late 1960s, he joined Synanon, a centre for the rehabilitation of narcotics in Santa Monica, California. Two years later he played on the compilation Sounds of Synanon, released on World Pacific Records.

After three years in Synanon, the Pass became more aware and grateful of their musical skills and began to take his career more seriously. “Many children think that to be guitarists have to go out and be drug addicts for over 10 years, and that is not true,” said Pass to Beat Down. “I can not prove anything of that time, saying that it was then when I really learned. I spent most of those years being a bum, without doing anything. It was a great loss of time”.

When you Pass left Synanon in 1963, he recorded Catch Me, his first album as a bandleader, with drummer Colin Bailey, the pianist Clare Fischer and bassist Albert Stinson. The following year, he recorded a tribute to Django Reinhardt called For Django, which was followed by Simplicity two years later. Also undertook the work of study, he played with bands of television and, from 1965 to 1967, he played with the pianist George Shearing.

Since the mid-60s until the mid 70s, Pass launched his career. He recorded three albums in Germany and played on albums with the jazz artists Earl Bostie, Julie London, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Chet Baker, and Carmen McRae. He worked as a sideman for pop stars Frank Sinatra, Donald O’connor, Della Reese, Leslie Uggams, Steve Allen and Johnny Mathis. Pass also replaced on the Merv Griffin Show when the guitarist regular Herb Ellis was unable to do so.

In 1971, Pass suggested a collaboration of their guitars in bebop with the approach bluesist Ellis. The two formed a team and became one of the sets of two guitars most famous and influential in the history of jazz. Carl Jefferson invited to Pass and Ellis to perform at the Jazz Festival Concord of 1972, which led to the recording of Jazz Concord, the first album for Concord Records. At the Jazz Festival Concord, 1973, Pass and Ellis recorded Seven Eats Eleven.

That year, the legendary bandleader Benny Goodman asked him to Pass in order to replace their guitarist at a concert. The performance of the Pass was so impressed to Goodman that he asked him to join his tour in Australia. When he returned from the tour, Pass signed a recording contract with the newly formed seal Paul Norman Granz and immediately began recording Virtuoso, his first solo album. The album launched a series of LPs of Virtuous and did Pass the golden boy of the jazz in 1975.

Also at that time, Pass teamed up with pianist Oscar Peterson for a jazzy version of Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. In 1974, he shared the Grammy Award for best jazz performance of a group with Peterson and Neils-Henning Orsted Pederson for his work in The Trio.

During the decades of 1970 and 1980, the Pass became the guitarist of jazz recorded, producing solo albums and accompanying other jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Stephane Grappelli, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Zoot Sims, Ray Brown, and others. In 1989, the Pass is met with the group who had recorded For Django -guitarist John Pisano, drummer Bailey and bassist Jim Hugbart – to record Summer Night. In 1992 they released Appassionato.

At the beginning of 1992 the Pass was discovered that he had liver cancer. Initially responded well to treatment, and continued to do so until the beginning of 1993. But his health in decline, forced him to retire from his tour with Pepe Romero, Paco Peña, and Leo Kottke. In 1993, he launched his latest album, Joe Pass & Co. with the guitarist Pisano, bassist Monty Budwig and Bailey. May 7, 1994, the Pass gave his last performance with Pisano in a nightclub in Los Angeles. It sounded better than most of the guitarists,” said Pisano to the Guitarist, “but after he looked at me with a tear in the eye and said:’I can no longer play more.’” It was like a knife in my heart.”

Joe Pass died May 23, 1994. In a tribute to a guitar player, writer Jim Ferguson summed up the career of Pass as a guitarist: “Bebop, Latin, ballads, blues, originals, solos, duets, trios, larger assemblies–Joe did it all. No player in recent memory has made many recordings in many styles and contexts…… In all likelihood, Joe Pass [was] the guitarist most versatile, complete, and conventional history.”

Career of Joe Pass

He began playing guitar professionally with the Gentlemen of Rhythm, Johnstown, PA, c. 1943; he played in the city of New York, 1944-45; played in New Orleans, 1946; traveled to the United States, 1947-54; he recorded his first album as a bandleader, Catch Me, 1963; signed to Pablo Records, 1973; released his first solo album, Virtuous, 1974; edited more than 30 LPs and played in many more, 1974-93

Awards Joe Pass

Grammy Award for best jazz performance by a group, with Oscar Peterson and Neils-Henning Orsted Pederson, 1974.

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