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Jaco Pastorius

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Easy Money
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Jaco Pastorius' debut album certainly got a lot of attention in the jazz world. In 1976 there wasn't a bass player alive who had not heard, and consequently had not been blown away by Jaco's version of Donna Lee that opens this album. When it came out, this album was revolutionary in the world of bass playing, and most bassists probably still consider it a five star album to this day, but how does it sound to us regular folks.

Jaco certainly goes for the eclectic approach on this album, touching on RnB, neo-classical, be-bop, world beat, ambient and a few styles of his own invention. Probably the nicest cuts on the album feature Herbie Hancock and a string ensemble playing some sophisticated Jaco compositions that are a third stream cross between jazz and 20th century neo-classical. My other favorites include two semi-ambient pieces that feature Jaco playing the bass as if it were a tuned percussion instrument.

The rest of the album consists of a couple of upbeat world-jazz numbers that show what direction Jaco would be taking Weather Report, an outdated shot at commercial RnB with Sam n Dave, and a couple of solo straight ahead jazz numbers that highlight Pastorius's obvious skills on the bass.

Once upon a time this album was 'the shot heard round the world' for bass players, it still is highly influential and contains some nice sophisticated music for us non-bassists as well.

Report this review (#194879)
Posted Tuesday, December 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars For bassists, this is required listening. For everyone else, it's worth hearing, but not necessary to go out of one's way to get. The late Jaco Pastorius does some phenomenal things on his instrument, but for those uninterested in virtuosic showing off, this will hold little value.

"Donna Lee" Hand percussion accompanies Pastorius in a spirited romp of a bass solo during this rendition of a bebop jazz standard.

"Come On, Come Over" The short initial piece segues right into this louder track, which features vocals and variety of instruments.

"Continuum" Over light drums and electric piano, Pastorius delights the listener with a tranquil lead on his swamped-sounding fretless bass.

"Kuru / Speak Like a Child" A wild, avant-garde piano solo runs over Pastorius's mad-dash of a bass groove. Later, layers of strings and a more bossa nova sound arrive. It's an excellent piece that showcases the bassist's abilities as part of the rhythm section. Astringent strings mark the end of the track.

"Portrait of Tracy" An unofficial benchmark test for bassists, this solo piece employs natural and artificial harmonics, as well as regular notes, to the point that it sounds like more than one instrument.

"Opus Pocus" An avant-garde blend of steel drums, Pastorius's funky bass, and some light drums, begin this dreamy instrumental. The screeching soprano sax of Wayne Shorter wails in, and serves as the lead instrument throughout, even though the steel drums and Herbie Hancock's Fender Rhodes electric piano have their moments.

"Okonkole y Trompa" Subdued, this piece features percussion, electric bass (creatively employed), and soft bellows of the French horn.

"(Used to be a) Cha-Cha" Picking things up is this jazzier number, heavy on Hancock's masterful piano skills and the prowess of Hubert Laws's wind instruments. Pastorius reminds the hearer that this is his album, however, as he engages in a growlingly funky bass solo that makes up a generous portion of the first half.

"Forgotten Love" Lovely strings and piano conclude this album, and so far as I can tell, Pastorius refrains from performing on it.

Report this review (#209759)
Posted Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pat Metheny answered the interview. 「I was not able to believe the music to which it listened by my ear when listening to his 1stAlubum. Such music did not exist till then. 」This remark was a remark after Pastorius had died. The performance of Pastorius might be unknown and be continuous for various musicians and listener with the threat regardless of Metheny. And, his life became a legend including a lot of anecdotes.

Some charms are perfections of the performance in his performance. And, it is accurate and a sense of the rhythm. Or, it is a point that deviates from an original usage as for the Bass guitar. And, the point to have taken the root of his music to the performance satisfactorily. And, the point to have taken the phrase of musical instruments and wind instruments of the keyboard.

Pastorius was answered in the interview. 「Anyway, it was interested in the music of various types. It applies to the item and the style and, in a word, it doesn't fit in. 」This element is concretely exactly expressed by this album with various guests' musician. The composition of the tune replaces the guest of each tune and is recorded. And, it is said that the majority of the collected tune are ideas where Pastorius already existed at one's teens. He had a reformative creation jumping over the range of Bass very if it listens to "Portrait Of Tracy" might be understood.

Jazz and Funk. And, whether the music that he incessantly has to Caribbean music is made an embodiment indeed splendidly and he grew up in such music might be understood. Anyway, all his music characters are blocked in this album.

Report this review (#229459)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think like most people, the music of Jaco Pastorius came into my life by way of legend and hyperbole. Long before ever hearing his work I knew of him as one of the Olympian Gods of the bass guitar. Not being a bass player or a music historian, I can only offer conjecture on either point. But as a guy who listens to a not inconsiderable amount of music and knows what he likes, I have to say his skill and virtuosity are in fact indisputable.

I am a rocker by upbringing and a Rush fan to boot. Which means, my expectation is usually that bass guitar will come one of two ways: lost in the back of the mix, or heavy enough to rattle a few teeth out of your skull. As those of you already familiar with Jaco can guess, when I finally received my proper introduction to Mr. Pastorius his style and ability fell well outside my frame of reference. His sound is delicate and very clean. His technical abilities are impressive to say the least. Especially here on his eponymous album he strikes me as a very serious musician. So far removed from the out of control caricature he would be reduced to when substance abuse and mental illness eventually overwhelmed him. It is easy to see why his talents were in demand as both a producer and session man throughout his unjustly short career.

Musically, this album airs much more on the jazz side of the fusion spectrum. At times this album can be pretty rocking and never more so than the second track Come On, Come Over featuring soul stalwarts Sam & Dave. For the most part however, Jaco Pastorius, the album, is quite reserved; at least from the perspective of wanting to turn the volume all the way up to eleven. Donna Lee, Portrait of Tracy, Continuum, Forgotten Love and Okonkole y Trompa are all quite understated. That isn't to say they are dull though. Jaco, the man, is usually front centre really exploring what his now legendary fretless 'bass of doom' is capable of. For me the most exciting tracks are the bebop influenced collaboration with Herbie Hancock on 'Kuru/Speak like a Child' and the equally vivacious, but not as focused jam session 'Cha-Cha.'

In short, this is a great album. If you are a bass player and you've somehow kept your head in the sand on the subject of Jaco Pastorius, it is in your best interests to correct the omission. This album will also appeal to people like me who are taking their first tentative steps into the wide world of jazz. Finally, for fans of truly progressive music there will be plenty to take away: sublime bass playing, a variety of musical styles and an assembly of music which rarely if ever treads through its own footsteps. It isn't an essential album, but it is a reliably well above average one. Jaco Pastorius the album is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection. Four stars of a possible five.

Report this review (#415931)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permalink

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