Joe Pass – Virtuoso (Full Album)

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Virtuoso is an album by jazz guitarist Joe Pass, released in 1973. Despite having only one original composition (“Blues for Alican”), it is widely considered to be his best album, as well as one of the best jazz guitar albums. The remastered version used 20-bit K2 Super Coding System technology and included liner notes by Benny Green.

Contemporaneous reviews were positive. For example, The Guardian commented on Pass’ “staggering dexterity, […] matched by his fluency of ideas and the originality of his voicing”, and The Irish Times stated that, “Apart from a certain fallibility with regard to time, Pass is without significant fault, a fact borne out by the quite incredible performances here”. Looking back from 2005, All About Jazz described the album as “the recording to announce that Joe Pass had arrived”, and said that he had “accomplished, using standard guitar performance techniques, to play lead melody lines, chords, and bass rhythm simultaneously and at tempo, giving the listener the impression that multiple guitars were being played”.

AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
When Joe Pass recorded and released this first of his Virtuoso series of albums, he was 44 years old, and ready to reclaim his crown as king of jazz guitar after years of heroin abuse. As a solo artist playing only acoustic guitar in an amplified fusion era, the odds were stacked against him, but Pass boldly issued this, his most creative and improvisation-based work, to mass critical acclaim and widespread general public sales. The genius of Pass was that he was easily able to retain melodic lines of these standards while adding stretched-out, extrapolated thoughts on the top and bottom of the melodies. On every track, with each passing phrase, modified and extended line or poetic thought, Pass proves his unique style is better than all the rest. On the marvelous “Night & Day,” classical-flavored “Stella by Starlight” with no small influence of Andres Segovia, faster than the pounding precipitation and pain of “Here’s That Rainy Day,” or purely improvised “Cherokee,” Pass is at the top of his game. He occasionally concentrates more on the melody for the pensive “‘Round Midnight” or the fleet “All the Things You Are,” but meets any challenge during a masterful remake of “The Song Is You.” There can be no doubt as to the essential nature of this incredible recording, a top five item for any jazz guitarist, one of the great modern-day contemporary albums, and essential listening for any serious music lover – a must have item.

01.Night and Day (Cole Porter)…(00:00)
02.Stella by Starlight (N.Washington/V.Young)…(03:42)
03.Here’s That Rainy Day (J.Burke/J.Van Heusen)…(08:59)
04.My Old Flame (S.Coslow/A.Johnston)…(12:40)
05.How High the Moon (N.Hamilton/M.Lewis)…(18:03)
06.Cherokee (Ray Noble)…(23:09)
07.Sweet Lorraine (C.R.Burwell/M.Parish)…(26:50)
08.Have You Met Miss Jones? (L.Hart/R.Rodgers)…(31:05)
09.’Round Midnight (B.Hanighen/T.Monk/C.Williams)…(35:53)
10.All the Things You Are (O.Hammerstein II/J.Kern)….(39:35)
11.Blues for Alican (Joe Pass)…(43:40)
12.The Song Is You (O.Hammerstein II/J.Kern)…(49:13).

Joe Pass – guitar.

Recorded:at MGM Recording Studios,L.A;August 28, 1973.
Label: Pablo Records – 2310 708
Engineer – Dennis Sands
Liner Notes – Benny Green
Photography By – Phil Stern
Producer – Norman Granz