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To those of you who "get" Jaco...

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Mushroo, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Right on, brother, high five!

    What was your path to appreciating "the Jaco sound" (either through Jaco or other bassists he has influenced)?

    For me it was,

    1. Hearing Bakithi Kumalo's fretless playing on Paul Simon's Graceland album and asking myself "what is that SOUND??"
    2. Bought a fretted bass and started learning how to play. But why doesn't MY bass sound like that?
    3. Heard another kid in school playing his fretless Jazz bass. That's the sound! Can I try your bass? That's weird, no frets!
    4. Bought my own fretless bass, P bass with flats. Close but not quite.
    5. Bass teacher loans me a copy of Jaco Pastorius Invitation. YES!! NOW I GET IT!!! practice, practice, practice

    What about you all?
    Frampton, ICM and gebass6 like this.
  2. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    getting into joni helped me see that he was more than a wanker-I found he was an excellent sideman as well who could compliment a song like no one else. he overplayed at times but somehow, got away with it.
    what strikes me as unique is how he sounded like a horn most of the time.
    then you come to appreciate the intonation and the rapid fire sixteenths etc.

    I love him
    he was a one of a kind
  3. Michael B

    Michael B

    Dec 16, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    Here is a question for the fans:

    Herandu by weather report. What's the time signature?

    11/8? Mixed time?
  4. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    I was studying upright at the time. Jaco's first disc was just released, I saw it in the bin at my teacher's shop and he had high praises for it, so I grabbed a copy. Took it home, brewed a cup of tea, sat down and listened. By the end of the record everything had changed.

  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Not listening to him thinking like I would for most bassists, but the same as a guitarist or other soloist.

    Once I got that, I also started appreciating him as a backing musician.
  6. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I loved 'Heavy Weather' (the album) long before I was aware of Jaco. I was entranced by the fretless sound upon hearing Mark Egan (a Jaco student) playing on Alex DiGrassi's "Altiplano" (Specifically, 'Fatboy', which was getting a lot of air play at the time). (Interesting note - Alex DiGrassi is a cousin to Michael Manring...) Eventually, I put all the pieces together.
    trothwell and kkaarrll like this.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I started playing in the early 2000s and took lessons through a Fender dealer. This may have been what turned me to Fenders... anyway, like many of you I used to love picking up the Fender Frontline catalog every year, probably still have most of them. The first time I got one there was a big spread on "the greatest bass player" and that alone sparked my interest. I never met anybody that was into him but I managed to find a few tracks on Napster, Jaco was hard to come by online, and I was floored by his playing. I did not rally get turned onto his style, or start copping it, until after I saw Modern Electric Bass for the first time.

    I also remember my mother watching some crappy rom-com or something that had a cover of Blackbird on the soundtrack. As my initial exposure to the track was Jaco I thought "hey, this gal added lyrics to that Jaco song."
  8. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    I heard "Birdland" on the radio. (college station, late-ish '77) Wrote down the name of the bass player (phonetically) after the DJ announced the personnel.

    Went looking for "Heavy Weather" in the record store. Couldn't find it, but found Al DiMeola's "Land of the Midnight Sun" with Jaco on it. The records "Heavy Weather", "Black Market", "Jaco Pastorius", and "Bright Size Life" followed shortly after.

    I appreciated his sound right off the bat, maybe because I played clarinet/sax and french horn before coming to the bass. The bass guitar producing singing melodies like that made perfect sense to me. But yeah, my getting something close to that sound was never going to happen with a Peavey T-40. lol!
  9. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I did not know that !
    I've held "Land of the Midnight Sun" as a favorite for a long time but I always thought it was Anthony Jackson...
    I have owned the 8-track and cassette of this album in (many) years past but they are long gone - and the MP3 album I now have has no liner notes nor track credits... I'll have to go listen again tomorrow with newly informed ears...

    I saw DiMeola in person once and was blown away - but it was before I knew anything about him or his backing band. He opened for Renaissance, who I came to see. Pretty much forgot about them and their one US-market hit after seeing DiMeola...
    47th Street likes this.
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Bass credits on Land Of The Midnight Sun-

    Jaco: "Suite- Golden Dawn"
    Anthony Jackson: "The Wizard" & "Land Of The Midnight Sun"
    Stanley Clarke: "Love Theme From Pictures Of The Sea"
    Jhengsman and 47th Street like this.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    11/8...it's an Alphonso Johnson track. Plus he is the composer.
    Black Market - Weather Report - Jazzbo Notes

    Jaco plays on 2 tracks..."Barbary Coast" & "Cannon Ball".
    gebass6 and 47th Street like this.
  12. bassbones2

    bassbones2 Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Nicholasville Kentucky
    sax player in high school was learning Birdland and called me over to hear this "bass player"....it was all over after that.

  13. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    AJ is on that, as well as Stanley Clarke. Jaco plays on the three-song "Suite Golden Dawn" on side two.
    gebass6 likes this.
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...damn, wish I had said that.

    I checked out Jaco's track(s) from Land Of The Midnight Sun…a definite "Barbary Coast" groove is omnipresent during some of the solos.
  15. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I came to Jaco late, being more guided by Percy Jones (Brand X), Rick Laird (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Alan and Danny Thompson (John Martin) and Pino and Mick before that. Hearing Jaco after that lot consolidated things for me, rather than being blown away.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  16. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    Seeing Jaco live at the Bluenote in NYC.
    This was in the winter of '82 and courtesy of a friends NJ paper license which at the time did not require a photograph.
    I was 18.

    From what I can recall 34 years after this experience:
    Jaco - after being introduced, began to percussively - beat the crap out of his famous fretless J Bass. Then he stepped on a footswitch of a primordial MXR multi-channel digital delay and played amazing melodic leads over the percussive loop. As the gimmick subsided, one-by-one the backing band took the stage with Jaco leading the charge.

    One other memory was that one of the 2 percussionists in the band spent a lot of time fiddling with a cheap Transistor Radio stationed in front of a microphone and the amplified static and transitions from station to station became part of the show with the musicians playing off the random signals.

    The only thing I didn't enjoy was being forced by the management to consume 2 very over-priced drinks as part of the admission!

    But from that day on I've always admired Jaco and musician's with beyond ordinary chops and approach to music
    (Peeps like Stanley Clarke, Bela Fleck, Michael Hedges, Tommy Emmanuel and others come to mind.)
    gebass6 likes this.
  17. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I was in my Arranging class at Berklee, and the instructor walked in one morning and announced: "There's a bass player playing at Pooh's Pub with Pat Metheny, who makes Stanley Clarke sound like a little old lady." He told us the bass player's name and repeated some apocryphal stories that became part of Jaco mythology (he had only been playing bass for about a year and started playing while recovering from a basketball injury).

    This made me extremely skeptical (I had an aversion to the Berklee Bandwagon Mentality), so I didn't go hear them. I still kick myself for that; in fact, I never saw Jaco play live.

    But when the albums Jaco Pastorius, Black Market, Hejira, and Bright Size Life came out, I bought them and I "got" them.

    P.S. A few years later, I was in a band in Connecticut with a piano player who had moved there from Miami (I have no idea what motivated him to do that). He showed us a picture of a big band he had led in Florida. Jaco was in the trumpet section.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  18. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    I'm just getting into his work now, and really like the style and tone, which is already influencing me, joining well the schizoid mass of bass players in my head. I'd heard some of his playing previously, but it was some of the recordings with Herbie Hancock that got me to dig in more.
    As a fun footnote, a friend of mine owned, for many years, Jaco's MXR delay prototype.
  19. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    in 1980, i watched from about four feet away as he played "Purple Haze" in a small club in SF during a set with his three piece band. i was floored already, but that rendition just made the reality clear,.. he was already the uncrowned juggernaut of the time. btw, almost the entire audience consisted of aspiring bassists and their GF's, lol. we were the few that knew who he was becoming!
    that night i think i experienced a symptom probably best described as "over stimulation-overdrive"! i mean, the dude would just stare right at you with this devilish grin just to watch you gasp as he proceeded to execute the perfect two measure "fill",.. that made absolute sense even to my uneducated brain! it was his melodies that made it so digestible,.. not just some quickly played "bunch of notes". i had only been playing for a couple of years, but by the end of that show i "got" Jaco. :)
    Whousedtoplay and Mushroo like this.

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