Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Steve Masakowski: For Joe

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

A heartfelt and tasty tribute to an early guitar hero and towering influence, Joe Pass, this straightahead offering by the New Orleans guitarist highlights his rich harmonic palette and remarkably fluid linear concept on seven-string guitar. Far more traditional than his adventurous work with the daring New Orleans ensemble Astral Project, For Joe is part of a continuum that began with Pass’ landmark 1964 Pacific Jazz recording For Django.

Backed by bassist Bill Huntington and drummer Johnny Vidacovich (his Astral Project bandmate for the last 22 years), Masakowski marries formidable technique with inherent melodicism on soulful, swinging renditions of Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way,” Rodgers & Hart’s “Falling in Love With Love” and Pass’ buoyant “For Django” along with his own homage to Joe, “Pass Presence.” All four pieces are underscored by Vidacovich’s lithe, in-the-moment brushwork against Huntington’s sparse, deep-toned basslines. They throw a bit of N’awlins second line funk up under “Poinciana” and hit a deliciously lazy, quintessentially Southern stride on Masakowski’s aptly-titled “The Big Easy.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.