Joe Pass was without peer as a jazz guitarist during the last two decades of his life; this is one of many expected posthumous releases to emerge since his death. Because Pass concentrated primarily on solo and small-group recording sessions, it is a treat to hear him backed by larger ensembles like the NDR Big Band and Radio Philharmonic. The arrangements are respectful of the star and unobtrusive, with show tunes ("On a Clear Day"), standards ("Soft Winds"), and originals like his upbeat "Waltz for Django." The only person who might be dissatisfied with this CD would have been Joe himself, who was extremely well known for criticizing nearly every recording he ever released.
Virtuoso guitarist Joe Pass didn't need sidemen on any recording, but when he used them, he chose wisely. Tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson, keyboardist Gerald Wiggins and drummer Tootle Heath had not recorded with Pass previously, but along with bassist Andy Simpkins, they achieve a perfect first-take sound on each track. The title cut features Pass with Johnson's bluesy sax and a soft organ and brushed background. Two Pass originals are lengthy blues vehicles with plenty of solo space for all. "I Remember You" is an unlikely choice that developed from Wiggins' jamming in the studio; the ballad is a relaxing detour from the blues that dominate the CD. Joe Pass was without peer on guitar the last 20 years of his life; his playing here won't disappoint.
Joe Pass, Catch Me. One of the greatest jazz guitar albums of all time, Catch me captures guitar legend Joe Pass, with pianist Clare Fischer. The two were a match made in heaven. Mostly, this album just has Joe Pass and crew swinging standards, but they make them sound so fresh and new. The beautiful rendition of Catch Me, is so vibrant, bright, and melodic. Pass plays great at those up-tempo tunes. The group swings down home on Summertime. Pass struts his blues side of him on this one, and the outcome is tremendous.