Personnel includes: Joe Pass (guitar); Jim Hughart, Colin Bailey, Ray Brown, Bobby Durham, Herb Ellis, Oscar Peterson, Plas Johnson, Gerald Wiggins, Andy Simpkins, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Duke Ellington, Louie Bellson, Paulinho Da Costa, Oscar Castro Neves, Claudio Slon, Octavio Bailly, Don Gruisin, Jimmy Rowles, Shelly Manne, Frank Severino, Monty Budwig, Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson, Ella Fitzgerald, Zoot Sims, Sarah Vaughan, Harold Jones.
Recorded between 1973 and 1992.
As this lavishly boxed, four-CD distillation of his Pablo sessions proves, Joe Pass was probably the guitar-playing equivalent of Art Tatum on the Norman Granz roster -- not only for his vast output, but also for the all-encompassing, almost orchestral way in which he got around his instrument. The set is divided equally into four sections -- disc one for his astounding solo electric and acoustic guitar sides, disc two for studio recordings with various groups, disc three for various live recordings solo and with groups, disc four the delicate Ella Fitzgerald and other duo partner sessions and quartet pieces backing Sarah Vaughan. Though the box is not in chronological order -- which is not necessary here, since Pass was essentially a finished, non-evolving artist when he joined Pablo -- Jim Ferguson's helpful commentary on the sessions is chronologically organized, balancing out Benny Green's personalized disc-by-disc analysis of the tracks. A couple of tracks with a modern Brazilian rhythm section also stand out, as does the supercharged "Sweet Georgia Brown" with Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, and the set's lengthiest item, a fond ten-and-a-half-minute take out on "Stompin' at the Savoy" live at Donte's club in North Hollywood, CA. The latter track and a scant two others are the only ones new to CD, and there are no unreleased goods to be heard, but with five hours of Pass taken a little at a time, this box will wear very well over the years. ~ Richard S. Ginell