I finally ordered this — got a gift certificate for Tower, and it is on “special order,” which means it might come someday. Some say Pacific Jazz Joe Pass is the holy grail, and I have to agree that the character of his work for the label in the early ’60s is much different from what came later for Pablo in the early ’70s and beyond. I already have “Joy Spring,” which was recorded live for Pacific Jazz in 1964, I believe, and is pretty much a master class in bebop guitar. Both of these records aren’t easily available, though both are part of the Mosiac box set, “The Complete Pacific Jazz Joe Pass Quartet Sessions,” which costs $80 and is only available direct. For those who may be wondering, neither of these two photos is from the time at which the records were recorded — ’63 and ’64. Why can’t they use the original artwork, or at least find period-appropriate photos of Joe? I figure the “For Django” shot is from the early ’70s, and the “Joy Spring” one is from the ’90s. Either way, these are two must-haves for Joe fans, and I’m glad to finally get “For Django.”
As far as “Joy Spring” goes, Joe plays a lot slower and more deliberately than he does during the Pablo years. That’s one of the reasons I think more players relate to the Pacific Jazz Joe that to the Pablo one — you can really get a grip (literally, figuratively) on the bebop language for the instrument from “Joy Spring,” and it’s easy to steal licks off the record. There’s some wonderful comping by Joe, too. “Joy Spring” should still be available as a single disc, and it’s pretty much a crime that the Joe discs on the label, including “Catch Me” are so often out of print and hard to obtain.