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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by dlew919, Jan 21, 2021.
Hope you enjoy.
He kicked ass on Ian Hunter's All American Alien Boy
Now we know your true identity!.....unless you used a pen name
Read from start to finish.
Such a great talent that left us far too soon.
Teentown, Birdland, Donna Lee..geez.. (it goes on, and on, and on..)
I have a bassist (primarily) brother. If there is any one player that he (and, probably many other bassists) try to emulate, it's the late, great Jaco.
Thanks for mentioning Hiram Bullock too. I always thought he was not recognized as much as he deserved.
Yeah. Hiram, Jaco, and Metheny were buds at the University of Miami and ended up in NYC shortly thereafter. Hiram had his bare footing gig with Paul Shaffer in the World's Most Dangerous Band on the Letterman Show, and around that time could be spotted at Seventh Street South hanging out with Pat and friends. Hiram had his own distinctive style, and it was a rare treat to hear him with Jaco. If you search hard enough, you can dig up a few recordings of them together. Hiram did his best to help Jaco during the down times, but nobody could help him, really. Hiram, himself, as nice as a guy as he was, still had his moments burning the candle at both ends, and hard partying was likely a major contributor to his demise, too.
I miss those days. What a great, creative era!
Nice article, David... enjoyed reading it. I thought you might have mentioned that, not only did Jaco write Teen Town, but I believe he played drums on the album version.
Always good to be reminded of this sad story. A stupid pointless end, like Roy Buchanan's. Thanks for posting your article - it sent me back to his music after a while away.
The playing of his I most love is his work with Joni Mitchell. Always supportive, bubbly and witty. "In France they kiss on Main Street" from "Shadows and Light" is my favourite bass playing anywhere, ever.
Just one point and I don't want to be picky, but is it right that his main instrument was ever a Precision?
thank you all for your lovely comments. And yes, it was a jazz. Stupidity on my part. I’ll try and fix it.
somehow missed that he played drums there. Noted and appreciated. Thanks for that.
I guess I’m through as a superhero too... no secret identities.
I'm no expert and wondered if I'd missed something. As a P Bass fan, I'd have loved him to have been a P Bassist!
Doubtless you know this pic of the proud new bass owner!
"So he swapped to solidbody – a Fender Precision bass became his main instrument."
Umm, no. Jaco was a jbass man all the way. Please fix that
Jbass, I bought one from seeing him play, I have no Pbass...
I can post pics of both if anyone is unsure.
I honestly don’t know how that happened but happen it did. I’ve organised to have it fixed.
No worries. Most of us won't remember tomorrow.
I was 16 when I first heard Jaco: a bassist by inclination. I love the bass and always have.
Jaco was incandescently original and like no one else. His voice--on both the fretless and the fretted bass--was unique. He had astonishing facility but he also knew how to hold down the bottom line. He liked James Jamerson as much as he liked Charlie Parker, and he was equally good at the music of both. The really amazing thing about Jaco was not just his flashy technique or his distinctive voice, it was his deep, self-taught grasp of music theory. His solo on "Donna Lee" is a textbook on chord substitution: it's schooled. But he could be as funky as any bass player around. I bought every record he was on from about 1976 through 1980. I saw him multiple times, with Weather Report and in smaller combos. Followed him obsessively.
It was very quickly clear that he was in some mental trouble. His first recordings were astonishingly fresh, but he soon seemed to be repeating himself. You could hear it with weather report, and Zawinul himself commented on it later. For example he used the "Come On Come over" pattern a lot, enough so it started to seem like maybe there was something wrong. He used it on the Ian Hunter track and on an Al DiMeola record and with Joni Mitchell and with weather report. It was striking--why was a guy who was so original repeating himself so much? Then I started to hear the stories about crazy behavior. My girlfriend was waitressing in a club in Philly and she came home one night to tell me Jaco had come in and sat in with the band and he was a complete *******, drunk and obnoxious, the crowd booing him and he had to be asked to leave. This would have been maybe 1982 or so. By 1990 I was living in Manhattan, not involved in music at all, and hearing stories about Jaco sleeping in the park.
I don't understand mental illness--who does--but I think his astonishing youthful creativity ended up as a kind of prison, like he could not be anything other than as great as he was on that Pat Metheny record or on his first solo record. He had this persona he had to keep inhabiting. He clearly had what we call Bipolar disorder, but also a deeply self-destructive streak. I don't think anyone could have "saved" him, but lots of people made it worse by supplying him with drink and drugs. That would include people like Mike Stern, who I think is sober now.
It's a deeply sad story in every respect.
fine article, thanks for posting it. i don't play bass much anymore, but i find Jaco very inspirational every time i hear him.
this is my favorite performance by him:
Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker - "Shadows And Light". - YouTube
here he is in a supporting role mostly and i think he's at his best in that role.
Love that guy's playing. Pure magic. What a tragedy.
you mean, I’m not famous?
Jaco did not replace Victor Bailey in WR, he replaced Alphonso Johnson. Victor was called in to replace Jaco. There were also numerous other musicians playing a solid body electric in jazz before Stanley and Jaco. Monk Montgomery played one of the very first Fender electric basses in the 50's.
Jaco had this amazing ability of playing to the beat and to the melody at the same time. There have been quite a few bass hot shots since but I've never heard anyone else capture that.
In my opinion his best recording is the Mingus album by Joni Mitchell. That's one I'm taking to a deserted island, if I ever need to.
Bob Cranshaw with Sonny Rollins--really nice electric bass work.
Argh! again, gremlins on my end - I'll correct Victor (might take a day or two - I'm on the road in an hour).
The point I was trying to make was that the electric bass wasn't taken as seriously as it was in jazz till Jaco. This was not to deny any other players (though I'll admit I'd missed Bob Cranshaw). Jaco almost singehandely made it a credible instrument in jazz (not forgetting Stanley Clarke). I find it interesting how a lot of jazzers went to rock - though that's a whole other argument and discussion.
. But I thank you for your points. I do appreciate tham. And when I develop these ideas further in the future I will incorporate them.