Jaco Pastorius: Jaco Pastorius

The jazz world was introduced to the dynamic musicianship of Jaco Pastorius in 1976 with 4 major releases: Weather Report’s Black Market, Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, Pat Metheny’s debut album Bright Size Life, and this masterpiece, Jaco’s self-titled debut album. Before joining Weather Report, Jaco introduced himself to Joe Zawinul as “the world’s greatest bass player” and always said “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.” With this album, widely considered to be the greatest bass album ever produced, Jaco proved that he could indeed back it up. His total command of the fretless bass guitar forever changed the way the bass was played.

Joined by a stellar cast of musicians, including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, the Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, and R & B legends Sam and Dave, this album took on every conceivable style of music, from the Charlie Parker/Miles Davis be-bop classic “Donna Lee” to the funk of “Come On, Come Over” to the lush orchestral setting of “Forgotten Love.” Jaco’s bass playing was revolutionary, but his real genius became evident in the body of compositions that have become jazz standards. (Buy it here)

Although his final years were marked with bi-polar disorder, mental illness, substance abuse, and finally death at the hands of a night club bouncer, Jaco’s great legacy is heard in all its glory here. Pat Metheny summed it up the best in his liner notes for the remastered edition of this album:

“You put this record on, and none of that matters. It is all here, in the grooves; everything you need to know about the guy. Jaco Pastorius was one of the most important musicians of our time – the fact that this was his first record is simply astonishing, there is no other way to put it. That this is without question the most auspicious debut album of the past quarter century is inarguable. As with all great recordings, the force of its value becomes more evident as time passes.”

Suggested Reading:

Bill Milkowski. Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius.