Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Jaco's not an influence...

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by RIZ, Jul 22, 2000.


  1. For me personally. His playing has never really zapped me so to speak. Now that doesn't mean he's an awesome bassist, because he is, heck I could never even begin to approach his abilitys. But his playing has never done anything for me.

    I purchased and read cover to cover the book "Jaco" that was being sold thru BP mag. I was all waterey eyed at the end. Such a sad story for a brilliant player. As a dad myself, I really feel sad for his two sons.

    Years ago I bought two Jaco cd's in the hope of having his playing finally "bite me" and so I could begin to understand all the awe-struck bassists out there, they were: "Black Market" & "Heavy Weather" But I came away feeling that the bass was very weak in the mix and too much over-playing by the other members in weather report. That was at least eight yrs ago. I recently tried again with the same two cd's and it just didn't do a thing for me... admitantly that style is NOT my favorite or even what I enjoy, but is there another piece of Jaco's work that will finally bring home the message to me?

    'Cos the cd's I have of his certainly do not and apparently I am missing something that nearly every other bassist has heard.

    P.S. pls don't flame me for posting this, I have been working up the courage since I found TB. I am just opening up and being honest. Thx!! [​IMG]
     
  2. cschenk78

    cschenk78

    Mar 12, 2000
    Watertown, NY
    I have to say that I agree with you whole heartedly. Jaco is a great player and he has a lot to teach all of us, but the music he played never GraBBed me either.
     
    Zodion and bftbassman like this.
  3. Hey, if you don't like Jaco's music that's cool, though I bet if you heard some of his funk stuff, like "Come On, Come Over" you might be more into him. '70's jazz fusion is a taste that some never acquire. I can't say that I like all of it either, but I do like Weather Report.

    ------------------
    Ciao
    Mike

     
    Garret Graves likes this.
  4. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    ...BTW-
    Jaco has THREE sons + a daughter.
    There's a nice write-up about Jaco this month(?)at www.bassically.net
    I could go on & on here...but a lot of us have "been there, done that, AND got the T-shirt" about this topic(there's a similiar thread buried at this site somewhere).
    If interested, check out bassically.net's commentary.
     
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    When I was 18 years old, I bought "Word of Mouth" and "Invitation" on the same trip to the record store in an effort to get into Jaco's music. Up to that point, I had never heard any Weather Report or anything with Jaco on it, so I was looking to get a crash course on his music.

    Unfortunately, I had bought Michael Manring's first album, "Unusual Weather" first, and his playing totally floored me, so when I finally got to hear Jaco, it was a bit of a disappointment, especially since I felt (at the time, anyway) that big band music was sorta corny. That was eleven years ago, when I lived abroad, so that's all the Jaco I had for a while.

    Now, eleven years later, living in the U.S. again, I have bought not only most Jaco recordings, but the Weather Report stuff too, and I feel that If you buy a Jaco recording looking for virtuosic bass playing, you will be disappointed. Rather, the best way to listen to his music is to hear the entire arrangement and how the bass fits in the entire picture - Mingus is a bit like that too, in my opinion. If you really want to hear Jaco chops, Jaco's self-titled debut and Invitation (and probably Twins) are probably your best bet.

    I just Bought Invitation again a few months ago, and now that I'm a little (well, 1/3) older, a lot better at playing the bass and have attempted to write some music of my own, I can really appreciate Jaco's entire concept. Manring's still tops, but Jaco's playing to me is like a river, it just flows naturally, going where it wants to go. Sometimes it's tender and calm like a lake, other times it's agressive and destructive like a tidal wave. Probably a lot like the man himself. His music really was a reflection of his persona.

    Well, I guess I sound like a certified Jacoholic by now. There's no law ya bassist has to like Jaco's music or his playing. I Think James Jamerson achieved just as much with less freedom, but their greatness can't be denied.

    As I said earlier, I still love Manring too, and I've met him a couple times. You should see him live if you have the chance.

    Will C. [​IMG]

    ------------------
    I'm not a genius. I'm just a hard working guy.
    -BW


     
    47th Street likes this.
  6. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Hey, BW-
    Have you heard Manring's thoughts about Jaco?
    Do you have the BASS DAY '98 video(the one where Manring plays "Teen Town")? Interesting stuff, indeed.

    IMO, Jaco's stuff is "virtuosic"; Hell, even pretty simple grooves like "Come On, Come Over" or "I Can Dig It Baby" or "Barbary Coast" are killers(then again, this stuff comes harder for me).
    Check out "Crisis" off the WORD OF MOUTH album(a disturbing piece of music that Warners despised)-That ain't a virtuoso in action?!
    How 'bout the opening bar to Joni Mitchell's "The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines"?
    How 'bout Jaco's take on FUNKIFYING a basic 12-bar Blues in F?
    Try playing the groove, AT TEMPO, on "(Used To Be)A Cha-Cha" for about 6-7 minutes...
    This ain't "virtuosic"?!

    About Weather Report-
    Joe Z liked "his" bassists to be able to cop 4 ditinct/different ways of playing-
    1)Walking bass
    2)Interactive/improv bass
    3)Funk bass
    4)Solo

    Jaco covered all of these demands with *great* authority, attitude, & confidence.
    No matter YOUR style, that's the way to approach stuff(IMO).

    BTW-
    Mingus was considered one of the first "vituoso"(there's that word again;-) bass soloists since Jimmy Blanton.

    IMO...guys like the aforementioned aren't about "dig-me licks", ergo, what they're playing may not appear to be "virtuosic"...on the surface! [​IMG]


    ...no flames, just a semi-rant [​IMG]
     
    47th Street likes this.
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Jim:

    The point about Mingus is well taken, but to my ears, Oscar Pettiford is the Man.

    I don't have the Manring Live tape, but I did hear his comments about Jaco. I asked him personally during a lesson I had with him a while ago.

    Will C. [​IMG]

    ------------------
    I'm not a genius. I'm just a hard working guy.
    -BW


     
  8. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    >IMO, Jaco's stuff is "virtuosic"; Hell, even pretty simple grooves like "Come On, Come Over" or "I Can Dig It Baby" or "Barbary Coast" are killers(then again, this stuff comes harder for me).
    Check out "Crisis" off the WORD OF MOUTH album(a disturbing piece of music that Warners despised)-That ain't a virtuoso in action?!
    How 'bout the opening bar to Joni Mitchell's "The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines"?
    How 'bout Jaco's take on FUNKIFYING a basic 12-bar Blues in F?
    Try playing the groove, AT TEMPO, on "(Used To Be)A Cha-Cha" for about 6-7 minutes...
    This ain't "virtuosic"?!

    Ah Jim, ya beat me to the punch again. [​IMG] I'm with you on this, there must be some killer bassist around here if they don't consider Jaco virtuoso.

    As far as the original post goes, if Weather Report is not your thing, try Jaco's debut album or Shadows and Light or Word of Mouth. Try 'The Birthday Concert'. Also, I saw Felix P. mention the NYC records as containing some good stuff and where as I was originally a little put off by the quality of these recordings (and the quality of the playing is also hit or miss), I have to agree with Felix that there is a kind organic nature to his playing on these recordings that I enjoy.

    BTW, Jim, you forgot to mention Chromatic Fantasy and Punk Jazz. Both sound pretty virtuoso to me. [​IMG]

     
    gjohnson441496 likes this.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Here's the sad, sad truth: Jaco does not grab everybody [​IMG] What some of us fail to realize is that music is very personal. We all like what we like. I can absolutely understand someone not being "grabbed" by Jaco. That doesn't make Jaco or that person any less than they are. I know it must seem odd to some when others don't seem to appreciate the same things but that's life. I like Thelonius Monk, David Byrne, James Brown and Ornette Coleman (among others) but I certainly understand if someone else doesn't. What some look at as virtuosity could be seen as wanking by others [​IMG]

    I think most people new to Weather Report and Jaco go in with the wrong expectations. It won't be the Flecktones, Tribal Tech or Manring or Chopsfest 2000, it's Weather Report and Jaco. If you're looking at the number of notes per measure, you're missing the point. Jaco was one of the first electric bassists who could play with facility on the electric fretless, play over chord changes and culminate all of his influences in Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock and R&B into a unique voice. Is that a guarantee you'll like his music or his playing...nope.

    Comparisons to Manring (now) and others is legitimate but hardly fair. Jaco was a keystone in his style of play, remove him and you don't have a Manring, a Willis, a Miller or a host of others who were directly influenced by him. I'm not saying they wouldn't still be stellar players, just that who knows what direction they may have gone in if he never existed. Does that mean you'll like Jaco and his music...nope. Different strokes. It's like comparing Larry Graham to Flea. Without Graham who knows, Flea may have stuck to trumpet [​IMG]


    The albums the original poster has are pretty representative of Jaco. Chances are Jaco just won't be his cup of tea. It happens. While "Havona" may have floored me, I can see it being met by someone thinking "Technically impressive, but..."

    Given a choice between Stanley Jordan ( a favorite target of mine in the technique- over-content vein) and B.B. King, I'll take B.B. every time.
     
    Marial, pnchad and JLY like this.
  10. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Brad, while the Manring/Jaco comparison might not have been fair, It was all I had to go on when I was 18 and new to the electric bass. Yes, Jaco inspired a lot of people to play the electric bass, but I'm not sure Flea would have stuck to the trumpet if Larry graham hadn't existed. (Don't forget Bootsy and Louis Johnson).

    (Here's a scary thought, maybe if Jaco hadn't broken his wrist and switched to bass, some of us would have become drummers! [​IMG] )

    I think that we're not giving James Jamerson enough credit as an influence here, and I think that Jamerson was as important a figure in the history of our instrument as Jaco, except no one knew his name. Maybe Manring and Gary Willis wouldn't have picked up the fretless bass. Maybe we'd idolize Jeff Berlin even more. The premiere fretless voice would then be Percy Jones of Brand X and americans might have dismissed fretless playing as "a british thing". Bill Wyman was perhaps the first fretless player ever.

    The fact is that in history, there is what is called "cultural stress", which is defined by the existence of a number of elements that combined allow for social and technological change to happen. The bass guitar, couldn't have been invented without electricity, the invention of the magnetic pickup, proper equipment to amplify the signal, reasonable manufacturing costs, existence of a potential consumer market, etc. In the case of a new musical instrument, in addition to all that, one also needs an individual who will show that the invention has a practical application that is unique Jaco was born at the right time to start playing the instrument while he was young and the bass vocabulary was still not entirely established (not that it is completely established now).
    Maybe the Chapman stick will have a similar champion in the years to come.

    Jaco was not the first person to play the bass, he was the first bass guitar virtuoso to be acknowledged as such, and that's the reason he is such an important figure in the history of our instrument.

    It's all food for thought.

    Will C. [​IMG]

    ------------------
    I'm not a genius. I'm just a hard working guy.
    -BW


     
  11. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    ...have you guys heard Tribal Tech's THICK cd? I hear a couple of Weather Report "rip-offs" on that one. Maybe, just maybe, Weather Report is a little on the esoteric side 'cause they're not as relatable as those bands that have a guitar(?). I dunno, 'cause when Jaco joined Weather Report, a lotta Rock players/fans got into the group's music.
    (Sorry, just pure BS speculation on my part).

    Anyway, there's been some players that didn't float my boat the first few times, either; it took almost 25 years before I could dig late period Coltrane. I tried in '75, I tried in the early '80s, late '80s, mid-'90s.
    I essentially made it MY mission to find out why I couldn't stomach his later music. I still have no clue about 'Trane...I just know he's my favorite musician bar none.

    Agreed, Brad, to each his own; the thread title does, however, mention "influence"(semantics, maybe?).
    For the record, I didn't take up bass 'cause of Jaco(I started "playing" in '72)...I took up bass 'cause of girls; I must be a helluva player 'cause I'm still single into my(cough)40s. [​IMG]

    Also, bottom line-
    NO Leo Fender & I'm a drummer! [​IMG]
     
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Big Wheel:
    Brad, while the Manring/Jaco comparison might not have been fair, It was all I had to go on when I was 18 and new to the electric bass. Yes, Jaco inspired a lot of people to play the electric bass, but I'm not sure Flea would have stuck to the trumpet if Larry graham hadn't existed. (Don't forget Bootsy and Louis Johnson).
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Just some observations, definitely no a criticism [​IMG] I hope I don't sounds as serious as I might be coming across [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] I'm not saying the comparison is wrong, BW, I'm just saying that like a lot of things, it probably should be looked at in context. Manring stood on Jaco's shoulders, not vice versa. I know MegaAngus mentions that he can play Vic's "Classical Thump"... could he play something similar to that never hearing Vic? BW, on the Bootsy and Louis Johnson tip, guess who was a huge influence on both of them, though probably more on Louis than Bootski? Larry Graham. Absolutely. Without LG you don't have the style that brought us "Get the Funk Out Ma Face" and all of the other Brothers Johnson and Quincy Jones stuff they were associated with (George Johnson slapped, too). I think Bootsy to a lesser degree because without the slap style that LG popularized you don't get "Stretchin' Out" with the Rubber Band [​IMG]among other things. OTOH Bootsy wasn't slapping with James Brown and his work on "Sex Machine" and "Super Bad" is still some of my favorite. So don't forget [​IMG] without LG you don't get tons of stuff that followed. Damned near all of the Funk bands of the 70's-80's were touched by thumping and it spread into other styles. Without LG...no Marcus Miller, no Byron Miller, heck, I think I heard Mitch Miller slapped, too [​IMG]

    Without LG you'd probably have a bunch of former bassists who grew tired of trying to cop the lines of Jamerson/Prestia/Bogert/Bruce/Enwhistle,etc. [​IMG]I always find it interesting to go through the "family tree" to see how people got to where they are. It's alway kind of amusing when I read someone writing that Flea invented slapping. That would be some seriously pre-natal sh!% [​IMG] They just don't know any better. Ten years from now a Fieldy disciple might say he invented it [​IMG]

    So in the case of Jaco you basically have a funnel that all of his influences went into and he was the receptacle. From him, fanning out in all directions are those that he touched with his playing and compositions.

    Far too often here the assumption is made that because he was a huge influence on "X" he must have been the same on the rest of the alphabet. I don't think that's true. He was however an big influence on me. So were a hundred other bass players. It's all good.

    I love music.
     
    47th Street likes this.
  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    BW, I forgot to mention, I agree with you about Jamerson. I didn't know who he was when I was growing up in the 70's, all I knew was, whoever was playing bass on some of those Motown tracks was a mother! I never seriously tried to play that style more out of respect I guess than anything. I could learn to mimic what he did and possibly do a convincing turn in his style but I was way too busy enjoying hearing him play [​IMG] To a lesser degree, the syncopated style of Rocco was another influence. I've heard lots of Rocco's "influencees" since then but there's still only one.

    When I got my first Brand X album ( I bought it as a cutout because I saw Mike Clark was playing on it and I loved the stuff he did with Herbie Hancock (with Paul Jackson). Percy floored me. He has such a different approach to the instrument and above all the first thing I thought when I heard him was "This guy is having a ball". I wanted to have fun playing, too and because of Alphonso Johnson, Percy Jones and lesser influences like Dion Estes and later Jaco, I've been having a ball on fretless, too.

    Here's where the discussion gets interesting for me. Invariably someone will tell me that I had to be influenced by one player before another because player A recorded in 1978 and player B recorded in 1984. Totally irrelevant. It makes no difference when it was recorded, it's when you heard it that counts. That's why I say the Manring/Jaco comparison is legitimate.

    To the Way-Back Machine, Sherman!

    [This message has been edited by Brad Johnson (edited July 23, 2000).]
     
  14. I look at Jaco, Jamerson et. al. not so much as influences, but inspirations. I think when you say someone is an influence, you're saying you've incorporated some of their thing into yours, in a seamless way.. it's your voice, with a little of their inflection. I'm not good enough to claim that with someone like Jaco. But I am continually inspired just by the mere concept of him, or Jamerson. That someone could be that good, and develop such an individual voice that will always stand out. It makes me want to work on my playing to the point that someday, I might consider them influences.
     
  15. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    &gt;What some look at as virtuosity could be seen as wanking by others

    Excellent post Brad. I certainly can understand someone not liking Jaco (Baffles my mind but everyone is entitled. I was never much moved by Stanley Clark or Wooten much.) But I was floored by the earlier remark that either said or implied he (Jaco)was not a virtuoso.
     
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Thanks, Pedro. I consider myself influenced by Jaco. doesn't mean I'm doing a note-for-note imitation but if you really get into Jaco there is a recognizable style.

    On the speed vs content thing:

    I personally am trying to work up to 32 notes per second (I don't really care which 32 notes [​IMG] I'm not coming out of my room until I nail it. Look out Adrian Davison! And Guiness, too.

    Of course my next CD will be sold only in CD-Rom format since it will require speed adjusting software to slow it down so mere mortals can comprehend all the cool hyperspeed licks I'm throwing down.

    I have no idea where this came from [​IMG]
     
    47th Street likes this.
  17. qbert00001

    qbert00001

    May 31, 2000
    Well i might tend to agree that directly Jaco is not an influnce on my day to day playing. But then again, i'm not sure that he is to most players. The way I see it, Jaco was more of a kick in the pants. He showed that the bas could have it's own voice, and also helped break lots of molds that bass had been stuffed into over the years. Many other players did this as well, but Jaco is the most well-known. To me Jaco is the push that makes me groove. He was a great player, he did his own thing, etc. I see him very analogous to Stevie Ray Vaughn; both played so smoothly, it almost seems as if the instrument was an extension of themselves. So to sum it up I don't see his playing necessarily a direct influence on me but rather an inspiration, something to strive for in terms of creating my own voice as a bassist and to get to a level where I feel that one-ness with my axe.

    Pretty deep huh? [​IMG]

    ------------------
    Breakin' the law! Breakin the law!
     
  18. Maybe I should have been more specific. Jaco's playing, although at least 1000%better than mine, is of no influence in the way I play and is not an inspiration for my further improvement.

    No disrespect intended. I am going to continue to keep an eye out for something of interest that Jaco played.
     
  19. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    &gt;I see him very analogous to Stevie Ray Vaughn

    I kind of see what you mean but I think the resemblance is only skin deep. I think Jaco was far more studied than SRV and way more versitile.
     
  20. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    &gt;Thanks, Pedro. I consider myself influenced by Jaco. doesn't mean I'm doing a note-for-note imitation but if you really get into Jaco there is a recognizable style.

    If I were more talented his influence on me would be more noticeable. (grin) Right now, I may be trying to sound like Jaco but people think I'm immitating Peter Tork. [​IMG]