View Full Version : Who's the Joe Pass of Mando?

Sep-06-2004, 1:52pm
I dig Joe Pass, is there a Mando equal? Thanks, dy.

Sep-06-2004, 1:54pm
Probably the late Jethro Burns http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

John Rosett
Sep-06-2004, 5:29pm
i agree with phil. chord melody, hot single-note work, a sense of humor that comes through in the music. they both had all that.

Pete Martin
Sep-06-2004, 5:47pm
My vote is Paul Glasse. Jethro was like the Django of players. Paul is a bebop player, unequaled to my ears.

Ted Eschliman
Sep-06-2004, 6:32pm
I would agree with Pete on the talent meter, but Paul disappeared before he could bless us with a timeless "legacy" like Joe Pass.
Probably have to put it back on Jethro for longevity's sake. Although, when Don Stiernberg puts in a few more years, he'll get my nod.
Don has the same charm, real-world sensibilities, easy-to-digest vocabulary--only thing missing is the years. (Don's still a "pup" yet. A purebreed, certainly, but a pup.)
For now...

Sep-06-2004, 11:10pm
Great scoop...I'll track down some more info on Burns, dy.

Seth Rosen
Sep-07-2004, 10:02am
Another vote for Paul Glasse, if the category is Joe Pass. #If the question was "who's the George Barnes of the mando?" I'd say Don.


Sep-07-2004, 11:32am
Who's Joe Pass? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

(And yes, I do live under a rock)

Sep-07-2004, 12:04pm
Joe Pass was one of the quinessential masters of jazz guitar, possibly the very best who ever lived.

If your rock is not sitting on your keyboard, try a Google search on Joe Pass for a few thousand pages of info...

Sep-07-2004, 8:40pm
I will add a few more: kenny burrell, herb ellis, george benson, Gabor Tzabo, lonnie johnson, eddy lang, charlie christian, leon mcCauliffe with Bob Wills , and all those unnamed hard working guys in all those touring swing bands in the 40's.

Sep-07-2004, 9:36pm
You forgot Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel... I love listening to all those guys. But to me Wes tops them all...

Sep-07-2004, 10:49pm
but Paul disappeared before he could bless us with a timeless "legacy" like Joe Pass.
What happened to Paul? Wasn't he a poster here (or was that CoMando)?

Sep-07-2004, 11:10pm
Keep in mind that the first item that pops in my head when Joe Pass is spoken of is "solo" guitar. Yes, tons of band items, and back up, and such, but for me, Joe kills that guitar, he opens it up, and I hear tons of tone like no other. Solo Jazz guitar. Yet, Martin Taylor, Ben Lacy, and some nylon solo jazz, is in my cd's, Joe is King. Later, dy.

Steve S.
Sep-08-2004, 11:31am
Pat Martino!!

Dave Caulkins
Sep-08-2004, 10:47pm
Once Again,

What did happen to Glasse? He released two (?) stellar albums and disappeared. His website is gone too. He definately would take the vote from me if it wasn't for....

I don't even need to say it, do I?

Jethro Obsessed,


PS: I agree that Jethro is the Django of mando. My bandmates actually thought that "Jethro's Tune" off "Back to Back" was a Django tune or recording. Heh!

Sep-09-2004, 5:08am
<<You forgot Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel... I love listening to all those guys. But to me Wes tops them all... >>

Yep to these guys, Tal used to play a Sunday brunch in Sea Girt, NJ every week, nothing like eating rich foods and listening to rich guitar


Peter Hackman
Sep-09-2004, 6:47am
Nobody's the somebody else of the mandolin.
Unfortunately, most jazz mando pickers leave
me a little cold. I did enjoy Jethro's
It ain't necessarily square although a bit cautious
jazz-wise. Swing low, hmm, that tone, no, I won't
go into that again.

Grisman - his pure jazz stuff is his least convincing.
When he fails to create tension and dynamics he resorts
to double-time (as does Jethro).
The simplest stuff on the Taylor collaboration
is the best.

Stiernberg - why so many standards? Beautiful tone,
but lacking in dynamics; I want a jazz piece to
cook hysterically toward the middle. Forget about singing,
throw out the horns, write some originals, then he could
very well be my man.

The one I dig most is probably
Bob Alekno, with Dix Bruce.
But most of all I dig improvisers who can blow on any
type of changes, even simple ones, and not just II-V-I.
Thile does that on the O'Connor retrospective.

Sep-09-2004, 6:59am
I agree with some of your points, but do give a listen to Stiernberg on his first LP Rosetta. Sometimes raw, always engaging, and takes plenty of chances. "China Doll" is a lesson in going outside the wake, then coming back in. As is the case many times, an artist's first efforts are the most enthralling.

Dave Caulkins
Sep-09-2004, 10:09am

Yes, the "Swing Low" tone is not Jethro's finest (and this coming from a obsessed lunatic) - I don't think that most jazz players produce their best material in their swan song recordings. The Homer and Jethro recordings of Jazz, I feel were conservative as to not alienate their usual listeners (who, like it or not, kept them in work for 30 or so years!). Check out "Back to Back" for gobs o' tone.

On Stiernberg: I like the phrasing alot, but it is "Standardville". I'm heavily into modal jazz and bop as well as swing, and I feel that it's a shame that he doesn't lean that way occasionally. The chops are definately there! I'd love to hear him tackle "Scrapple from the Apple" or "A Love Supreme". Heh... we can all have our mando-fantasies. Rosetta rocks. Don is a cool guy to boot.

On Grisman: Heck, he's not really a jazz cat - though he touches on the genre alot. I've always liked his version of "Naima" despite being a conservative reading. The earlier Quintet recordings are my favorites, as the Latin influence is really heavy in the post-80s recordings. Don't get me wrong, I love those too, but "80", "Live with Grappeli", and the original albums are virtually desert island albums to me.

Statman has some decent chops (anyone use the Homespun set, I'm thinking of buying it) but he veered into Klez pretty quickly before fulling exploiting his ability to blow.

'Nuff of my $.02...


Sep-09-2004, 10:22am
Dang, Dave, you said it all. Send me a mail, I may have something you'd dig.

Sep-09-2004, 10:29am
"The one I dig most is probably
Bob Alekno, with Dix Bruce."

Nice to see Bob's name on these pages...
He was a wonderful player who tragically left this world far too soon...
I still play an old A4 that I bought from him quite often that was my first "good" mandolin, and his as well...

Those were pretty heady mandolin days in the Bay Area in the 70's, with the likes of Grisman, Phillips, Reischmann, Waller, Ware, Marshall and tons of other players influenced by them and the local rag "Mandolin World News" creating some of the most interesting mando music I've heard before or since...

Sep-09-2004, 10:36am
Peter, Spruce et al,
Interesting you would mention Bob Alekno as an improvisor........Bob's forte was his incredible rhythm playing. He was a Jethro student in his Chicago days......I remember him moving to The Bay Area where I introduced him to a lot of players.....I had college roots in IL and we had a mutual friend. His rhythm served him well in The Tim Ware Group, as well as the Darol Anger Cello Quartet and of course the aforementioned Back Up & Push.
I really miss Bob, wonder what he'd be playing like today.......right now he is probably jammin' with Jethro.
And Spruce I also bought one of my first good mandos from Bob, I bought the pumpkin topped A and he kept that A4 that you eventually got. Bob was a good friend, I hear his wife Marky lives in Oregon now.

Sep-09-2004, 12:02pm
Does anyone think that it's possible these days for a jazz mandolinist to make a decent living by playing jazz all the time, the way Joe Pass did?

Pete Martin
Sep-11-2004, 5:26pm
Does anyone think that it's possible these days for a jazz mandolinist to make a decent living by playing jazz all the time, the way Joe Pass did?


John Rosett
Sep-12-2004, 1:52am
pete, if you'd just play the godfather theme once in a while, i'll bet they'd let you play satin doll at the dinner club.

Sep-12-2004, 9:23pm
Naming more favorites ,past and present, theres the topic of The work of jazz fiddlers: Eddie south, stuff smith, joe venuti .grapelli, jean-luc ponty ,
Svend asmussen ,off my old record stacks, for their melodic improv [on 4 strings]

Sep-13-2004, 10:02pm
More jazz guitarists forgotten in this thread -- Pat Metheny, Al Dimeola, and did anyone mention Les Paul? Pretty, pretty tone...

What I remember Joe Pass doing, correct me if I'm wrong, is a lot of throwing chording in with the melody work in his solos. Di Meola's style's more fast flashy melody lines. I liked the depth of Pass's playing better, so I too would like to know who compares, on mandolin. Who plays their solos several layers deep?

Sep-14-2004, 9:42pm
Interesting question Kathleen ... having had the privilege of seeing Joe play a few times - and owning a scattering of his CD's, it seems that Joe's playing was spontaneous and relaxed (and definately well rehearsed / practiced). I've been mulling over the question and keep coming back to one player who seems he can do it all. And like Joe, doesn't overwhelm the audience with his technical prowess. Also like Joe, he can laugh at mistakes and integrate them into a break.

For me - the mandolin player who exudes that is Tim O'Brien. He constantly surprises me with all the different directions and moods he can express. If you haven't heard Fishing Music - you're in for a treat. Solid hard core Bop? No, but then neither was Joe. He only bopped when it was musically required and never, ever - abandoned the melody. It seems his tradition was still oriented around entertaining a mixed audience - not just musicians and made the audience part of the joke.

Much like Tim O'Brien ... just a different venue.

Sep-16-2004, 7:00pm
Since Jethro already has has several votes I'm going to go ahead and cast my vote for Tiny Moore! The man was amazing, fluid, graceful, and swingin' and mighty versatile.