Joe Pass – “Stella by Starlight”

Joe Pass was acknowledged master of the solo guitar, releasing numerous albums in the solo setting over the course of his long and fruitful career. Uninhibited by a rhythm section, Pass’ solo sets were showcases for his brilliant orchestration and stunning chord-melody arrangements, in which he seemed to be playing the walking bass line, melody and accompaniment all at once. The most illustrative exhibition for Pass’ skills in this regard is Virtuoso, which was recorded on this day (August 28) in 1973. Many critics consider it his finest album.

Our Song of the Day, “Stella by Starlight,” is the perfect example of how Pass can evoke an entire jazz orchestra with just his guitar alone. And that’s not to mention the blistering bebop lines that cut through the middle of the tune.

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