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Jaco Pastorius - Live in Italy CD (album) cover


Jaco Pastorius

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars A brief review:

I don't seem to share everyone's high praise for this album,which is unfortunate because it is a great album,but perfect by no means.When you listen to a fusion album especially one lead by probably the greatest bass player in the world,It would be difficult not to judge this solely by Jaco's bass playing alone.Which I will purposely avoid on this occasion,but that isn't the problem I have with it.

My problem,though a fairly small one can be seen from the very beginning as soon as Bireli Lagrene enters with a guitar solo,where he trades back and forth from shred guitar to funk but then shockingly and distastefully IMO comes with pinch harmonics with an over the top distorted rendition of smoke on the water which then he fumbles into Weather Report's Teen Town.This kind of surprising change in style happens throughout the album on multiple occasions.He changes from clean funk guitar into hard rock.,the most notable time is during their cover of "I shot the Sherrif" he sounds like Eddie Hazel for one momment then Eddie Van Halen the next.Which when given the funky rhythm section holding down the groove,it seems like something of a novelty.My problem isn't the fact it's bad playing,because it's not.There's some very tasteful moments in his playing and it's always at a high standard.It's the fact it sounds completely unnecessary,which I know comes down to taste alone.But this is surely very important,especially in a trio.

But once I accepted the guitar playing was not to my taste and I realised this was going to be very different to other Weather Report or Pat Metheny,I began to see the light at the end of tunnel.The moment Jaco enters in teen town his playing his exceptional and makes the album a worthy listen.In fact I'd go as far by saying he saves the album (which as the album is titled under his name,it points out the obvious) I would say this album perhaps has my favourite live performances by him.It shows all sides,possibility's and effect that the electric bass can have most when placed in the heads of a great musician.Jaco is known for going off on tangents,but as he does so,he remarkably keeps the groove and virtuoso skill,still keeping the most difficult of basslines extremely tasteful no matter how high the register.And with such a funky drummer (who still remains unknown to me) you'll realise funk is the definitive genre of this performance.And even preformed convincingly by Bireli Lagrene.

For something which could realistically be seen as a bootleg,it's a great album and I don't believe anyone would turn down the chance to keep hearing Jaco.For me this album gets a 3 due merely down to a matter of taste as I feel everything he did solo and with Weather Report is at a better standard.I would highly recommend the trio of doom with John McLaughlin,Jaco & Tony Williams though short lived (just one album)it was everything this album should of been and more.

Report this review (#228711)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Jaco as he was meant to be heard. I dont think its an insult against Jacos massive influence and legacy to say that although he was a groundbreaking musical genius, the songs he wrote could have been better. "Heavy Weather" was an album that probably both Sean Malone and Kenny G took inspiration from, and considering how good Jaco sounded in "Suite Golden Dawn" on Al Di Meolas "Land Of The MIdnight Sun" and his love of Hendrix, it was only a matter of time until he embraced the heavy Rock sound and found a good guitarist to match him.

For my money, Bireli Lagrene is that guitarist. He opens up the album with some Neoclassical scales, mixed with Funk riffing. Already he proves that he is a musician that can think outside of the box, just like Jaco. They then launch into a fiery version of "Teen Town" wich just floors me every time. The drummer is a local uknown (atleast to me) but he does a good job at keeping time for the two giants he was playing with. Very straightforward and he gives the music a real Rock edge. The cover of "I Shot The Sheriff" from this album has gone on to become a minor classic and its no wonder. Jacos Bass and Lagrenes Guitar is dancing around and intercepting eachother like fencers and there is even a very good drumsolo!

You owe it to yourself to give this album a listen.Around this time Jacos life had begun unraveling into a nightmare of substance abuse and mental ilness and just one year later he would die a tragic and pointless death, virtually forgotten by the music world. But listening to this album you could believe that he was in the shape of his life. Musically this recording really stands as Jacos finest hour.

Report this review (#955923)
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | Review Permalink

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