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Frank Potenza: For Joe

February 18, 2014
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Jazz guitarist Frank Potenza met Joe Pass in 1974, and was both a close friend and a student until Pass’ death in 1994. On this superb album, he pays homage to the master in the company of drummer Colin Bailey, bassist Jim Hughart, and guitarist John Pisano, all of whom played on Pass’ 1964 classic For Django. Included are the title track, “Rosetta,” and Reinhardt’s “Fleur d’Ennui” from that album, along with a couple more Pass compositions, tunes closely associated with him, and Pisano’s swinging “Blues for Joe.” But this isn’t merely a regurgitation of the past—Potenza and Pisano are, of course, celebrated guitarists themselves, and their singular musical personalities and glorious tones infuse every note. Outstanding in every respect, this is one of the best straight-ahead jazz albums I’ve heard in years. Capri.

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