Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Joe Pass and the Synanon Fender Jaguar
Here's a clip, circa 1963, of the late, great Joe Pass playing a Fender Jaguar.
Born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua, Joe Pass claimed a strong Charlie Parker influence and spoke often about painstakingly copying the bebop innovator's licks line by line off of 45 rpm records. By age 20 in 1949, he was jamming in clubs on New York's famed 52nd Street -- the birthplace of modern jazz.
The negative aspects of the jazz life -- including an addiction to heroin -- soon took their toll on the young Pass. After 5 years in a Texas prison he decided that enough was enough and voluntarily entered Synanon's drug rehabilitation program.
While at Synanon he practiced on a Fender Jaguar that belonged to the center. He continued to play the Jaguar on gigs after his release and that guitar is the one he is playing in the video above.
After seeing him play the Jaguar at a club, a businessman by the name of Mike Peak, who was also an avid guitarist himself, decided that it was not an instrument befitting Joe's talents. Several months later, on Pass's birthday, a Gibson ES175 --the guitar most closely associated with the guitarist for much of his career -- was delivered to him at his home as a gift.