Joe Pass (born Joseph Anthony Passalaqua, January 13, 1929, New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S., died May 23, 1994, Los Angeles, California), was a jazz guitarist. His extensive use of walking basslines, melodic counterpoint during improvisation, and use of a chord-melody style of play opened up new possibilities for jazz guitar and had a profound influence on future guitarists.
Joe Pass, the son of Mariano Passalacqua, a Sicilian-born steel mill worker, was raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Born into a non-musical family, Pass started to play the guitar after being inspired by actor Gene Autry's portrayal of a guitar playing cowboy. He received his first guitar, a Harmony model bought for $17, on his 9th birthday. Pass' father recognized early that his son had "a little something happening" and pushed him constantly to pick up tunes by ear, play pieces not written specifically for the instrument, practice scales and not to "leave any spaces" - that is, to fill in the sonic space between the notes of the melody. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Pass