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What do you like about Jaco Pastorius' playing?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by bassinplace, Mar 7, 2013.


  1. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    I'm asking because this is one player I could never "get". I love some of the playing he did with Weather Report and Joni Mitchell, but when he takes the solo spotlight in concert, all I can seem to hear is very weedle-y. I just can't dig it. I'm interested to hear other peoples take on what makes this particular player an inspiration to them.
     
  2. very melodic and harmonically interesting lines, phrasing, and use of space.

    Took me a while to get my head (and ears) around his tone when he was first out but then one day listening to him in context it made perfect sense. Since then I play my J with a little more bridge than neck pick up.

    He was also one funky player :cool:
     
  3. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    It's not *all* "weedle-y", he could groove too.

     
    SpasticTastic likes this.
  4. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    What's some of your favorite recordings by him? I've got Heavy Weather, Hejira and Don Juan's Reckless Daughter.
     
  5. I agree 100% His live stand alone solos do nothing at all for me. Maybe he was just so far gone being a junky that he had nothing left in him.
     
  6. check out WR's "8:30" and "Black Market" (shares bass credits with Alphonso Johnson :bassist:).

    His debut solo album "Jaco Pastorius" is a must-have in any bassist's collection, lots of fun and amazing things in there.

    His work on Joni's "Hejira" is my fav with her, but also check him out on the live "Shadows and Light", all star band backing her up.

    I'm a little less fond of his later big-band work post-WR ("Word of Mouth") but that's just me, I'm not a big jazz band fan. I'd check it out, though.

    As a musician he definitely covered a lot of territory in a relatively short amount of time so it's worth looking at his solo as well as collaborative work.

    Edit: he also did some work with Pat Metheny.
     
  7. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    If you don't already know it, check out Black Market... by far my favorite Jaco recordings on that one, as said his phrasing is excellent but the guy also got a sense of time like a clock. I'm not into his harmonics stuff but when he lets the funk loose there's no stopping him.
     
  8. anyone who hears coltrane for the first time usually thinks it's just s bunch of notes. as a player develops on his instrument, he hears more connections in music and one day it clicks and expands like a sonic cathedral.

    back in '78 a bassist friend wanted to "blow my mind" with some rush/geddy lee.
    i was patient, respectful, and afterward i played him jaco's "TRILOGUE", "JACO" (columbia) and "JACO" (improvisimg artists label) groundbreaking albums for the rest of the night. he couldn't wrap his head around the runs, the sophisticated machine-like ostinati, the harmonics, the solos.. it all sounded like a meaningless blur. a year later he said that the night changed his musical life, redirected his playing in a ferocious way, but that he wasn't aware of it when it was happening. music is like any art- the true ahead-of-the-curve stuff has a strange, almost acerbic quality sometimes upon first look that can be off-putting but that over time becomes the new standard.
     
  9. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Québec
    He could actually wright GOOD SONGS.
     
  10. kevteop

    kevteop

    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    I find him a bit tiresome eventually but no more so than any other bassist who's too far forward in the mix.

    I like his phrasing though. He's good at communicating that ferocity and subversiveness he seemed to embody. He's just generally an interesting guy to listen to.

    Compared to a lot of modern soloists who are all 'hi-fi' tone and melodramatic overstated dynamics, he's much more interesting.

    I ended up sounding a lot like Jaco quite by accident when I first started listening to him so he must have made a big impression without me realising it. The only other act that I felt had a similar effect was Parliament.
     
  11. jbednarski

    jbednarski

    May 31, 2010
    Chicago area
    Check out Pat Metheney's "Bright Size Life" disc.
     
  12. My favorite description of Jaco's impact was (paraphrasing) "He didn't just change the was bass players played the bass. He changed the way all the musicians around him played their instruments"
     
  13. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
    Like a lot of things, some like him some don't. He was definitely unique. Maybe he appeals to the bass at the forefront crowd more than the bass as an accompanying instrument crowd. Or not.
     
  14. qervo

    qervo

    May 18, 2011
    I tend to play funk with a lot of 16th notes . After I play tower of power for about 5 minutes my right hand is burning. When I heard jaco playing 16th note continuous grooves , for what seemed like several long minutes at blazing speed, without ever loosing the groove , I gained much respect for him on his stamina and endurance alone.

    I think some of the previous posters are right about not "getting it" the first time around , but when you try and actually do what he is doing, you'll gain appreciation for how technical and hard it actually is.
     
  15. qervo

    qervo

    May 18, 2011
    At the time (and now) nobody was playing funk /soul with a fretless basses like this groovy little number
    http://youtu.be/re1ftwuUhtc
     
  16. At first it was his playing. Coaxing new exciting sounds out of the bass, plus strong, aggressive takes on the more traditional sounds.

    Now it's his compositions. His songs are brilliant, especially "Teen Town" and "A Remark You Made", both on Heavy Weather. Lot's of covers of "A Remark You Made" starting to show up on various CDs. What a gorgeous song.
     
  17. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    That is a great song. Hanova too, didn't he write that one? Clearly he could write just citing those examples alone, which I have huge respect for. Kinda like Mingus whose music I love but more from a writing standpoint than as a bassist, although he was a pretty damn fine bassist. I haven't checked out Jaco's solo album, I need to get that. I will check out Black Market also. Bright Size Life, too. I dig Metheney.
     
  18. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I've always felt the same way. Very talented but not what I am into.

    I find his playing to be the exact opposite of this. Mostly over playing and not leaving enough space.
     
  19. qervo

    qervo

    May 18, 2011
    Side note : the story I read about the song / video I posted was that the singer played the song one time for jaco to hear and the jaco said "I got it , roll tape" then he cut the song in one take. The man had a great feel for groove along with some big ears.
     
  20. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    That's what I tend to think also. I'm open to changing my mind though, if I can find something that speaks to me on a deeper level. Then again, my favorite bassists are Jamerson, McCartney and Kaye. But I also have a huge love for jazz.
     

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