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Bass Transcription: Jaco Pastorius’s Bass Line on Weather Report’s “Night Passage”

Bass Transcription: Jaco Pastorius's Bass Line on Weather Report's "Night Passage"

This my first time here, and I’m very happy to be a contributor on No Treble. My goal is to transcribe some of the great bass lines, solos and some Latin American music that could be interesting for you. Feel free to give me some ideas about new things to transcribe in the comments.

Today we will be tackling Jaco Pastorius’s bass line on the title track from Weather Report’s 1980 album, Night Passage.

This is one of the best Weather Report albums. To me, it always sounds fresh and modern, like a timeless record. The group also includes drummer Peter Erskine and percussionist Robert Thomas Jr, who sound very tight together.

In this particular song you can hear a big band arrangements, in the style of Duke Ellington.

I believe the bass line was co-written with Joe Zawinul, as we hear some left hand synth bass lines mixed with the genius of Jaco. Check out the C-section, it’s a open section in A pedal, and you can hear wide intervals in fifths, played in triplets. Also be sure to check out the final section (bar 139), where you can hear a Jaco’s signature licks. Be careful with the triplets!

Follow along with the track and the transcription (PDF).