Tuesday, December 1, 2009

John Francis Pastorius III

I just saw it is Jaco's birthday today. For those who don't know, he was the equivalent to electric bass guitar that Jimi Hendrix was to electric guitar. The way that the instrument is looked at was forever altered and it's possibilities dramatically increased by his contributions. He passed on in the late 80's. I was a youngster just starting on bass an was mostly into Def Leppard and Kiss, when my life was forever changed by two records I bought simultaneously: Stanley Clarkes first album and Jaco's first album.

Not only did Jaco bring fretless bass to the masses, he also possesed uncanny abilities; the use of harmonics in particular (guys really didn't know what he was doing it was esoteric and uncharted territory for the vast majority of players). His facility and fluidity were just about untouchable, light years beyond most bassists and the best part, his groove never suffered. His time feel is organic and never seems to falter.

Also, in the days of muddy bass his tone was crisp, punchy, and up front. Not always the ideal bass tone for working bassists, but you hear him play one note and you instantly know it is Jaco.


Listening List:

Jaco Pastorius- Jaco
Joni Mitchell - Shadows and Light
Joni Mitchell - Hejira
Jaco Pastorius - Word of Mouth
Jaco Pastorius - Twins I & II
Pat Metheny - Bright Size Life
Albert Mangelsdorff - Trilogue - Live!

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