“He showed complete mastery of the bebop jazz language – a language invented on horns”: Celebrating Joe Pass, jazz guitar’s great re-inventor – and a player who had the rare ability to nail sax lines on a six-string

Joe Pass
(Image credit: David Redfern/Redferns)

Joe Pass was born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalacqua to Sicilian immigrants in New Jersey on 13 January 1929. He acquired his first guitar at the age of nine after being captivated by country legend Gene Autry’s appearance in the 1940 movie Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride

It wasn’t long before Joe’s interest became an obsession and he would practice for two hours before school and two hours after, and then continue for four more hours after dinner before he went to bed. 

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Denny Ilett

Denny Ilett has been a professional guitarist, bandleader, teacher and writer for nearly 40 years. Specializing in Jazz and Blues, Denny has played all over the world with New Orleans artist Lillian Boutté. Also an experienced teacher, Denny regularly contributes to JTC and Guitarist magazine and is founder of the Electric Lady Big Band, a 16-piece ensemble playing new arrangements of the music of Jimi Hendrix. Denny has also worked with funk maestro Pee Wee Ellis and is the co-founder of Bristol Jazz & Blues festival.