Jaco Pastorius: Jaco Pastorius
Here we have a remastered, re-release by one of the masters of jazz bass. Many will rightly argue that as far as electric bass guitar players goes, Jaco was the rightful heir to being the first master and innovator of a style and sound totally unique. For some who listen to this release they might tend to think, perhaps, nothing really unique nor all that fantastic is happening here. What?! What I mean is this: Jaco was and is such a huge influence on bass playing all over the world that going back to the source can be somewhat of an anti-climax. Why? His purity, his flair, his tone, his technique, his mastery, and his music are phenomenal. But if someone has listened to the hundreds of superb jazz and jazz fusion bass lines laid down since Jaco's senseless death, emulated by his myriad of admirers, well, somehow Jaco's best magic has been diluted by time and echoes.
Don't get me wrong. This is a fantastic debut solo release by Jaco, showcasing his very best that circa 1976 could offer. Jazz greats are featured playing with Jaco. Two extra unreleased tracks are offered and lots of extra liner notes and photos are included.
Overall, I found this to be predominately a groove jazz release with assorted moments of delightfully dated funk flavorings, and smooth jazz leanings. I feel the stick-on label calling this CD "Classic Fusion" is very misleading. I don't believe Jaco ever considered himself a fusion bassist but a jazz-playing bassist with a special vision for his instrument. There is no rock to make this jazz rock fusion and just because Jaco used an electric bass doesn't mean rock is here. In fact some of Jaco's pieces could be better described as diversely ethnic or world jazz. When I hear some of Jaco's dreamier cuts he even veers into what would later be called new age jazz.
In summation, all bass players and virtuoso instrumental bass lovers need to have this in their collection. Fans of 70s, cutting-edge jazz releases also need to own this. If however, you are looking for a more wide-open, rocking, fusiony Jaco seek out his work with Weather Report. And do find Weather Report's 8:30 (Columbia, 1979) live release. Jaco really cuts loose in that live setting.