Jaco Pastorius: 30 Years Later
Today marks 30 years since the late, great Jaco Pastorius passed away. Though three decades have come and gone, his approach to the bass and singular voice on the instrument is still strongly felt in the musical world.
We’re remembering the life and legacy of virtuosic music and remarkable showmanship with the top, reader favorite Jaco videos and transcriptions from No Treble’s archives – including some tributes.
Based on readership alone, the mark Jaco continues to make on the world of bass is nothing short of incredible. RIP, Jaco.
Isolated bass tracks have always been a hit on No Treble, so it’s no wonder that an isolated recording of Jaco’s bass would drive fans wild. This clip of “Domingo” comes from The Birthday Concert recording session and offers a detailed look at the bass master’s technique. (Best experienced with headphones).
If you’re looking to work on some of Jaco’s music, check out this solo transcription by Jukka Haavisto. “Among the great tunes on Jaco Pastorius’ self-titled solo debut was “(Used to Be A) Cha-Cha”,” he writes. “His solo is a tricky one, at an upbeat tempo and with Jaco’s trademark melodic and syncopated lines.”
Musicians Institute discovered a video in their vault of Jaco Pastorius’s appearance during a master class, which took place in the mid-80’s. They recently posted the entire video, where Jaco fielded questions from students. Here’s a chance to learn from the master himself.
On November 20, 1976, Joni Mitchell performed a benefit concert with Jaco Pastorius and conga player Bobbye Hall for a “Save the Whales” organization in Sacramento, CA. Here’s the trio’s performance of “Shadows & Light” from that show. This version takes on a very different vibe than other more well-known recordings of the tune. And it is so, so good.
Here’s another unearthed gem from Weather Report’s live performances in 1978, with one of the greatest line-ups in the band’s history: Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine. In this video, the group performs the beautiful Zawinul tune, “A Remark You Made”, which was quite the showcase for Jaco’s fretless sound, playing off of Shorter’s sax.
Jaco’s work with Joni Mitchell fused so many genres to anchor the singer-songwriter’s unique style. In this 1979 clip from Shadows and Light, the bassist, Michael Brecker, Don Alias, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays kick Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris” up several notches.
Marcelo Cordova digs deep into the classic Weather Report track “Night Passage” from the album of the same name. “This is one of the best Weather Report albums. To me, it always sounds fresh and modern, like a timeless record,” Cordova writes. “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 arrangement in the style of Duke Ellington.”