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A lesson from Jaco Pastorius

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by superjam144, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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    I wish I was good enough to be able to say I'm influenced by Jaco.

    If you're interested in Jaco, find the "instructional" video he did with Jerry Jemmott "Modern Electric Bass."

    I heard him with Joni Mitchell first in 76 on Hejira. Since then I've listened to, and enjoyed, a big sample of everything he's ever done, but his work with Joni is what I still love best. Supportive, creative, bubbling and witty.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  2. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    When GIANTS walked the earth... this may be the finest hour of live music you've ever heard?

    Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker, Lyle Mays and Don Alias. All of them are gone now, but Joni & Pat. :(



    Jaco was amazing in this concert, but I think this incredible concert video deserves a separate thread of its own.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  3. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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    Shadows and Light? There's that little lick from Jaco in "In France they Kiss on Main Street", just after Joni sings
    "Gail and Louise in those push up brassieres" that always makes me smile...
     
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  4. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Afflicted

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    It's the production. I really liked the live clips in the documentary but the albums just sound so dated and flat. I feel the same way about Rory Gallagher. Way too much chorus sterilizing everything.
     
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  5. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow! You knew Sheryl crow and jaco! Amazing!
     
  6. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Holic

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    I know, it seems like a strange combo... Just trying to keep making a living playing - and doing a lot of traveling - lots of strange thing happened over the (many) years.
    I like to joke that I spent a career "rock star adjacent..."
    Many accidents.
    As a musician (not celebrity music), I'd say the big ones were getting to meet Jaco, Ornette Coleman, and Herbie Hancock (the only one of the three I every really got to play with).
    As a person (non-music-related)?
    Dim sum with Frank Herbert and three days on a little boat with Harold Edgerton are high on that list...)
     
  7. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Melodic bass. I usually love stuff that has the bass carry some sort of melody, rather than a groove.
    Yet.. what I want for my own guitar playing in the band is very basic bass and drum groove. it's a conundrum.

    I read an interesting thing about Jaco, wish I could find it. He created a kind of modulation/chorus bass sound with track doubles. Doubling identically played tracks which were a micro second apart from each other. One night playing the duo with a looper, I accidentally did it. I was soft finger picking a bass line, sliding a lot rather than firm fretting and looping over it. It became more like a fretless sound. I got a micro second off on tracks and all of a sudden it had this ethereal sound like a chorus.
     
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  8. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    It's something you only understand after you've tried to help someone with mental illness. I dated a woman that was bipolar. I had no idea until she went off her meds. I kept trying to apply rational thinking to the situation, but when she was in the middle of an episode, it was impossible. If they won't take their meds and get into treatment, there is nothing you can do for them. They are in their own living hell, but they drag the people that care about them into a different, but equally painful living hell.
     
  9. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    As incredible and otherworldly as Jaco Pastorius' bass playing and general 'music making' was - he was a complete disaster as a human being. At least in regard to his own personal health and safety. People tried to help him all the time ... it didn't work. He lived his life the way he wanted to live it and thankfully he left us a ton of great music that will never be lost or forgotten. Sometimes art and it's purveyors work that way. Cest la vie.
     
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  10. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i consider that concert to be the best Jaco i've ever heard. i like him lots more in a supporting role than solo.
     
  11. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Telemnemonics, i am glad a thousand times over that you found a way off the path of doom.
     
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  12. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Thank you for posting that! reminds me of Brian May talking about when he met Rory Gallagher when Brian was a teen and Rory spent time answering his questions.


    i was a prison guard from 80-89. i remember a discussion i had with a certain inmate. this man seemed every bit a decent, thoughtful man. he told me that cocaine had brought him to prison. he said, "That stuff is so evil. there's no other drug that just destroys your capacity to care about anything else the way it does."

    i am thankful to say i have zero experience with it, but i have read so many stories of how it has destroyed person's lives. what i have read about Jaco seems to bear it out.

    we wonder why somebody didn't help him - but being around drug-dominated behaviour gets real old real fast. i'm willing to help people, but my home is a place of peace and i simply am not willing to let that peace be disturbed by someone who has become a coke psychopath. i'm sure others feel the same way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I saw Don Cherry play a small club in NYC, was super excited to see him, doubly so in a small enough place to maybe exchange a word or two since there was no stage or real separation.
    I had to guess he was on drugs, really out of his mind, screaming at the drummer who sat in for Blackwell whose dialysis kept him away that night.

    We can have understanding and compassion for the individual, but it's really almost impossible to help them on our own terms.
    Most commonly the "healthy" helping those afflicted result in the helpers getting sicker, rather than the sick getting better.

    Families often give lip service to something called unconditional love.
    IME family and loved ones are 100% incapable of unconditional love, because of how much the degeneration and eventual/ inevitable death of the sick person hurts the loved ones. That is a condition, thus not unconditional.
    Medical professionals may be dispassionate but help for $$.
    $$ is a condition.

    The only place I've found unconditional love is in SOME 12 step groups.
    Partially because once we get our footing and get better, well enough to be of any help, we are making friends and watching them die one after another. So we are able to avoid placing conditions on those we help, by the sheer volume of those who need it, and the fact that we provide nothing until the ask for and accept it.

    Unfortunately 12 step programs are seriously imperfect and inconsistent!
    There are some sort of in between non affiliated organizations like Clapton's Crossroads, and many rehab professionals are also in 12 step recovery.

    Practicing something along the lines of detachment is important if we try to help.
    I had a friend who half asked me to be his sponsor, call me in the middle of the night asking for money to get his car back after it was towed. He was 30 miles from home etc etc etc and I let him come to my apartment for the cash.
    A huge weight lifter self proclaimed street fighter dude, not my smartest move, but nothing happened beyond me buying him more drugs.

    Many friends I've had, i clearly remember the last time I hugged them before they died, often knowing full well how close they were to that end. There is not a damn thing we can do if they are not fully willing.

    Funny, I have a sponsor (seventh one) and have been taught to not judge or give advice to a sponsee.
    But the number of times I've wanted to scream at a sponsee who asked me formally to help them, then kept doing the same self harming stuff, and even spent hours on the phone explaining to me why this time the same thing is different?

    So painfully true that trying to help what at times amounts to a "psychopath", harms us while not helping them at all.

    Point of function:

    To a large degree, not helping at all in any way shape or form is an essential tool in functional helping.
    "Helping" that makes the continued behavior sustainable, like bailing them out of jail, patching up their wounds, paying their rent or even giving them a coat to keep warm, all that helps them keep using.

    Seems that things have to get really really bad before help will be truly accepted and utilized.
    For many of us though, our limbs can literally rot off and we still refuse to accept real recovery help.
    Sorry...
     
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  14. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lots of people tried to help Jaco: he was committed twice for mental illness. Peter Erskine called in his Dad, who was a psychiatrist. But he was often abusive and obnoxious, and he often let people down. He blew money people advanced him, he flaked on gigs. It's really hard to help someone who doesn't respond rationally. Imho the people to blame are the people who kept getting high with him.

    He was perfectly capable of just holding down the low end, where he was extremely funky--he had a great solo voice but was a great traditional bass player too.

    He had a short period before the mental illness started to overcome him. Bright Size Life with Metheny, his first solo album, his cuts on Weather Report's Black market and Heavy Weather: Hejira, the Joni Mitchell album, his second solo album sometime, although he was starting to go downhill there. There a lot of really bad Jaco out there when he was ill and drugged up or drunk.

    Tragedy
     
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  15. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    I knew Jaco. He was a regular fixture in Ft Lauderdale when I was a kid going to every single show I could no matter the genre, as long as I'd heard the drummer was sick. Obviously I'd heard about Jaco but I'd never seen him live. When I went to see the Dixie Dregs when I was 16, Jaco jumped on stage and played a few songs and blew my friggin doors off. After that, I helped him load in his Gretsch kit at The Musicians Exchange, a pretty cool music store/casual concert venue in the area and he proceeded to blow my doors off with his straight ahead jazz chops. I had no idea.

    I remember when he happened to walk into a drum clinic that Peter Erskine was giving and jammed a few tunes with him- I had no idea at the time of their Weather Report connection. But I remember thinking "This is close to seeing Hendrix play as I'll ever get". He was totally friendly and open to kids like me and everyone knew him in the area, and he jammed with everyone. There are certain very rare guys you meet that are way way more than mere players, or mere musicians, and Jaco was one of them. Just a pure channel who happened to have great chops, unbelievable ears, a sper creative mind, and total commitment.

    I walked into my buddy's drum shop one day (after a one year rehab stint in another state myself) and all the guys there had a pallor, and they told me what happened. It gutted the whole community.
    I saw that documentary, and as sad as it made, and I'm really glad they made it.
    The man was way too important to be forgotten.
     
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  16. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pretty sure he split his signal and sent it out split using an MXR delay pedal. it sounds sort of like Chorus but I think it's just a slight delay
     
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  17. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, that's what it was. It was an interesting thing he came up with!
     
  18. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Holic

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    I have some great friends who have told me that they absolutely had their lives turned around by AA; who love it.
    And oddly, they never even seemed that messed up to me before...
    I can only conclude that it's a great organization and a great process.
     
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  19. Jeremy_Green

    Jeremy_Green Tele-Meister

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    From what I heard, his drug and alcoholism ran really wild at the end. Not sure if you’ve ever spent any time with a person in that condition, but it can really drive people away. Remember these musicians weren’t his family, yes they benefited, but taking on another adult who has addiction and mental illness is a lot to ask of a coworker.

    no matter how you shake this out it’s absolutely tragic. Such a huge loss for the music community. I love his work, and it’s part of my regular listening and has been for years.
     
  20. TheDavis

    TheDavis Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for your strength to share your story. This is a very common issue in our musical community. I have way too much experience with these things and I completely agree with you.
     
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