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Joe Pass and John Pisano: Duets

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In the last stretch of his life, guitar legend Joe Pass had taken to recording and working with John Pisano, another guitarist with a keen appreciation for straightahead jazz, who played in a quartet setting with Pass. Since Pass’ death in 1994, the bounty of unreleased recordings on the shelves has begun to surface, including his striking solo acoustic recording, Song for Ellen.

This intimate and impressively empathetic duet recording was something captured by producer Eric Miller, and is an important addition to the Pass discography. Though it opens with “Alone Together” and includes a poignant reading of Horace Silver’s “Lonely Woman,” most of the material was written by the players. Though the fingerwork flies with two-for-one energy, as on Pisano’s “You Were Meant for Me” and Pass’ boogie-lined blues vehicle “Back to Back,” the mood is also often lyrical and understated-a light shade of blue, on tunes like Pass’ “Baileywick” and “Blues for the Wee Folk,” and Pisano’s “Satie.” Aside from the obvious rapport between the players, the blend of acoustic guitar and electric is a warm, happy one. It’s another reminder of the void left by Pass’ death.