Sounds of Synanon was one of the first recordings to expose Joe Pass to a wider jazz audience; at the time, the relatively unknown guitarist was in the midst of successful treatment for drug addiction at the Synanon House in Santa Monica. All of the other participants on this 1961 recording were also Synanon patients, including pianist Arnold Ross (known for his work with Glenn Miller, Harry James, and Charlie Parker), trumpeter Dave Allan, baritone horn player Greg Dykes, bassist Ronald Clark, drummer Bill Crawford, and bongo player Candy Latson (an amateur who had only been playing for a year and whose presence is a bit superfluous). All of the tracks are originals written by one or more of the participants; "C.E.D.," a showcase for Pass written by the guitarist, stands out from the rest of the songs. The music is predominately bop, though there is a bit too much reverb on both Dykes and Allan. Pacific Jazz founder Richard Bock was responsible for the making of this LP, which served as a springboard to Pass' career as a leader and sideman for the label before he later achieved international fame with Norman Granz's Pablo in the 1970s. Following this session, Ross left jazz to work for Nelson Riddle, Edie Adams, and Paul Weston (among others); the remaining musicians seem to have fallen into obscurity. Fans of Joe Pass have been greatly frustrated by EMI's (current owners of the Pacific Jazz catalog) failure to reissue this historic album, but in the fall of 2002, Toshiba-EMI of Japan finally reissued the session on CD, which adds the previously unissued "Blues" to the original seven tracks.
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