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This review is from: Jaco Pastorius (Audio CD)
Jaco's first solo record proves to be the most important and influential recording in the history of the electric bass. I invite listeners from all other forms of music to try and find another bass player other than old jazz cats like Charles Mingus and Scott LaFaro who did more for the bass than Jaco has. He single-handedly showed us new directions we could take the instrument in. Modern players like Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Flea, and Les Claypool owe an immense debt to Jaco Pastorius. This record holds even more weight, because it was recorded all the way back in 1976. Jaco totally revolutionized the electric bass.
'Donna Lee,' an arrangement of a Miles Davis song, is just about the closest you could get to a bassist who 'shreds' in the style of monster guitarists like Malmsteen and Vai. Every note is played clean and clear - Pastorius is a perfectionist and he makes no mistakes on this opening piece. This is followed by the only track with vocals, 'Come On, Come Over.' It features Sam and Dave on vocals, and I predict that one day Quentin Tarantino will use it in one of his movies.
Pastorius shows his versatility through his mastering of natural harmonics on the sublime 'Portrait of Tracy.' He also shows his versatility in playing slow using plenty of vibrato and slides in other tracks like 'Ocus Pocus' and 'Continuum.' Keep your ears open for elements that would sprout up in all forms of music from Rock to Rap to Hip-Hop to Country following this debute record.
In my opinion, the true highlight of this record is 'Used to be a Cha-Cha' which is another arrangment of Charlie Parker's 'Ah Leu Cha' which is also covered by Miles Davis on his ROUND BOUT MIDNIGHT lp. The track features Herbie Hancock and is a fusion barnburner full of solos from Hubert Laws, Hancock, and an hypnotic looping bass line from Jaco. The alternate take bonus track on this edition is a gem, with Hancock shining even more.
Listen to what I have to say about Pastorius and this record. If you don't believe me then look no further than Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Randy & Michael Brecker, all of which are featured on this pioneering release. If you are a bass player, or simply call yourself a fan of the instrument, then anything Jaco has ever done belongs in your collection, including his solo material, his work with Pat Metheny, and his late involvment with the fusion supergroup, Weather Report.