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Thread: Jaco Pastorius

  1. #1
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    Jaco Pastorius

    I have been really getting into Jaco lately. That guy is a monster.

    I have been listening to him since the late 70's, but I am just now approaching him from the technical point of view and appreciating how fast and expressive he was.

    Really, is there anyone who can touch him? (Jamaaladeen Tacuma comes to mind...) It's a real shame he deteriorated in his last few years and died so young.

    I saw most of the jazz players of the late 70's-early 80's, but I don't think I ever saw Jaco.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 02-19-2015 at 05:59 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Gary Willis (Tribal Tech, solo work) incorporates some of Jaco, some of Rocco Prestia, and a lot of his own ideas...I think he's one of the best. I do love Jaco though...saw him numerous times with Weather Report and his own bands, Joni Mitchell, and others. I love his compositions too.

  4. #3
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    I was a young electric bassist when the rumblings started -- the Metheny / Pastorius / Bley quartet record and then Metheny's "Bright Size Life" was large. But when the "Jaco Pastorius" black-and-white record dropped players went nuts.

    It was music from another planet. The guy really did invent a personal musical language and it changed the way people on all instruments addressed their music. There are many fine, even iconic, bassists but there aren't many who had that kind of "EVERYBODY changes" effect on jazz. Jimmy Blanton, Scott LaFaro, Stan Clarke and Jaco might be the whole list of "Everybody Changes" bassists.

    I got to see Jaco twice. The first was with a quartet tour Herbie Hancock put together after the first VSOP record dropped -- HH, Jaco, Bennie Maupin and James Levi. Jaco was amazing -- proving it all night, but in a totally musical way. Less than a year later I saw him right after he joined Weather Report and he was already playing Star Man -- jaw-dropping but the ego was well engaged.

    As short as the list of Jazz Game Changers is, think about how much shorter a list is Jazz Game Changers Who Learned And Survived. Ponder that next time you're tempted to say, "I'd do anything to play like . . . . "
    Last edited by Sam Sherry; 02-20-2015 at 03:08 PM.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  5. I saw him with Weather Report in 1977 (Norfolk VA) and again in 1978 (Washington DC); with his own band in 1982 (again DC, at Blues Alley); and, a couple of years later, at a more informal jam session-type gig at Seventh Avenue South, the Brecker Brothers' now defunct club in NYC. Except for the last one (his life trajectory at this point was clearly downward), these were mind-blowing performances.

  6. #5
    Jaco definitely was a monster player/musician/innovator and left us way too soon...but never forgotten. An excellent book to check out is Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius: Bill Milkowski, Jaco Pastorius: 9780879308599: Amazon.com: Books . Another bassist, in the monster category with a similar style, would be Victor Wooten. Plenty of youtube vids of him and especially check out some of his playing live...jaw dropping!

  7. #6
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    Richard Bona was inspired to play electric bass after hearing Jaco. Mark Egan's style is also very influenced by Jaco. It's no small coincidence that both were members of the Pat Metheny Group and could handle the Jaco parts from the Bright Size Life album when they were included in the PMG performance repertoire. I'm sure Steve Rodby is well versed in "Jacolsms" also.

  8. #7
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    Jaco Pastorius-felixpastorius_metheny-jpg
    Jaco's son Felix and some guy.
    ES-175VOSsp..SadowskySemi..Ibanez S6521Q w/GK3..AxeFx III..CLR..BossGP10..Line6.G10
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  9. #8
    First time I saw Jaco was with Metheny and Bob Moses at a club called Poohs Pub in Boston/Cambridge. This would have been around 74/75. He was already a legend around Berklee. Then around '77 at Great Southern Music Hall with Weather Report. Had a great talk with Ira Sullivan a few years back who was sort of a mentor to Jaco in S.E. Florida. A couple friends of mine (Ted Lewand and Craig Thacker (sp/) played on "Holiday for Pans" which might have been one of his last recordings. He was at Bellvue at the time. They would check him out of the hospital and bring him to the studio to record for the day.As you can tell from my login name he had a huge impact on me, and such a tragic end.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jaco View Post
    First time I saw Jaco was with Metheny and Bob Moses at a club called Poohs Pub in Boston/Cambridge. This would have been around 74/75. He was already a legend around Berklee. Then around '77 at Great Southern Music Hall with Weather Report. Had a great talk with Ira Sullivan a few years back who was sort of a mentor to Jaco in S.E. Florida. A couple friends of mine (Ted Lewand and Craig Thacker (sp/) played on "Holiday for Pans" which might have been one of his last recordings. He was at Bellvue at the time. They would check him out of the hospital and bring him to the studio to record for the day.As you can tell from my login name he had a huge impact on me, and such a tragic end.
    Did you go to Berkley? So you must be one of the rare guitar and bass players. I try to do those plus piano but still haven't seemed to find a voice on any yet!

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  11. #10
    Anybody know if Jaco's son plays bass?

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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZ2017 View Post
    Anybody know if Jaco's son plays bass?

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    Felix Pastorius is a fantastic musician. He had a stint with The Yellowjackets from 2012 to 2015 (and is on their album 'A Rise in the Road') and leads his own projects. There's plenty of video of him on YouTube.




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  13. #12
    I still think some of Jaco's best playing is on the Joni Mitchell album "Hejira". He's playing so loose and making the tunes better than they could ever be.

  14. #13
    With the speed of his right hand I bet Jaco coulda been a great classical guitar player!

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  15. #14
    Yeah Jaco's lines were/are killer

    Counterpoint is it ?
    anyway ... wonderful

    I'd add Jameson to that list
    was a game changer

  16. #15
    Yeah, I saw Jaco with Weather Report in my college gym. I haven't heard anyone else play the Jaco style as well as him.

    But, there are a number of strongly-influenced players:

    Hadrien Feraud, Tony Grey for example. They have both played with Hiromi, who likes players with monster chops to match her own.

  17. #16
    I've only seen Hiromi once, she had Tony Grey on bass and Dave Fiuczynski on guitar (forget who was on drums), that was like a band of superhumans! Amazing gig.

  18. #17
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    I saw that Pat Metheny gig at Pooh's Pub as well, amazing all around. Carles Benavent, for years with Paco de Lucia, was Jaco-inspired as well, and used effects very creatively, great bassist.

  19. #18
    I'm not a real expert on bass players, but it seems to me that Jaco's playing owed a lot to Mingus...that sort of aggressive, but loosey-goosey almost lead instrument approach to playing.

    Jaco said he was the greatest in the world...but as Dizzy Dean, the great fireball pitcher of the 30's said, "it ain't braggin' if you can do it."

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZ2017 View Post
    With the speed of his right hand I bet Jaco coulda been a great classical guitar player!

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    He probably was. He started out as a drummer, and by many accounts could play pretty much any instrument well enough to scare most of us.

    John

  21. #20
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    He was one of the few musicians whom I immidiately felt like a a 'soulmate'...
    It was noit just about his virtuosity or skills

    but musical thing, some kind of moving light of life that his music expressed... uncompromised power of hope.

    And his big band records were the most important for me.

  22. #21
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    I was listening to WR just today. The album The Legendary Live Tapes is a great record and shows Jaco (as well as the rest of the band) at his peak.

    Standouts are of course his long solo, but also Black Market, River People and Teen Town. Check them out. Unforgettable.




  23. #22
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    To my ear, Max Bennett, who played bass on Joni Mitchell's "In France They Kiss On Main Street" sounds like Jaco.


  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by FZ2017 View Post
    With the speed of his right hand I bet Jaco coulda been a great classical guitar player!

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    Technically, maybe. Emotionally, no F’n way Jaco could be confined to the printed page.
    Ignorance is agony.



  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    He probably was. He started out as a drummer, and by many accounts could play pretty much any instrument well enough to scare most of us.
    Jaco was actually the drummer on Teen Town (which he wrote) on the Heavy Weather album.
    "Songs are very interesting things to do to the air." -Tom Waits

  26. #25
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    Yes, I couldn't put this book down. But, a lot of the book talks about Jaco's bipolar behavior and how he progressively falls apart all of the way to the end. As much as he was a brilliant, shining personality, the pain many felt in trying to reach him and watching his slow demise is what comes across most. Tragic.
    "Songs are very interesting things to do to the air." -Tom Waits

  27. #26
    What's great about Jaco is that not only was he a monster technician on the bass, he was also a great composer of unique original music!

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  28. #27
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    I was impressed when I saw him playing piano with Toots Thielemans on YouTube. Worth checking out. (At least to me)

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
    Yes, I couldn't put this book down. But, a lot of the book talks about Jaco's bipolar behavior and how he progressively falls apart all of the way to the end. As much as he was a brilliant, shining personality, the pain many felt in trying to reach him and watching his slow demise is what comes across most. Tragic.
    A photographer friend of mine met Jaco when he sat in on some interviews with Weather Report. I asked him what Jaco was like. He said he was a ‘total nutcase’!

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