Various Artists: Gospel for JFP III: Tribute to Jaco Pastorius

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Various Artists: Gospel for JFP III: Tribute to Jaco Pastorius In his relatively short life, John Francis "Jaco Pastorius III not only revolutionized the role of the electric bass, he contributed a small but resonant body of composed work that remains influential to this day. Pastorius is best known for his work with Weather Report and his own Word of Mouth band. The tragedy of mental illness and related substance abuse that would lead to his death at the age of 36 does nothing to diminish the importance of his brief but significant contribution. His compositions continue to be covered by artists like trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist Christian McBride, and guitarist Scott Henderson.

While Gospel for JFP III is not the first album to pay respect to Pastorius' legacy, it is the first to present such a broad range of interpretation. Unlike last year's Word of Mouth Revisited, which focused more on his virtuosic style with a steady stream of bassists including Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, and Jimmy Haslip, this recording concentrates more on the writing, finding new and unusual ways of interpretation.

The eleven tracks are mostly Pastorius compositions, although the title track is an original dedication, and the funky vocal track "I Can Dig It Baby is notable only as being from his first known recording date, guitarist "Little Beaver Hale's Party Down (President, 1974). A few particular standouts employ innovative ways of looking at well-known material. The fourteen-piece vocal group Contrafarsa opens the album with a unique choral arrangement of "Three Views of a Secret that ultimately evolves into a duet between electric guitarist Hiram Bullock and acoustic guitarist Birele Lagrene, with the choir rejoining the duo for its triumphant and joyous conclusion. Pianist Michael Gerber retains the airy ambience of "Continuum, but with Romero Lubambo's acoustic guitar, Gil Goldstein's synth washes, percussionist Armando Marçal's light shadings, and Mike Stern's delicately restrained electric swells, the piece takes on an even more ethereal quality.

Steel pan player Othello Molineaux delivers a fairly literal reading of "Havona that is elevated by strong soloing from saxophonist Bob Mintzer and, of course, Molineaux's pans. Drummer Kenwood Dennard's version of "Teen Town opts for a slower, greasier funk, as opposed to the high-octane virtuosity most interpreters aim for. But perhaps the most imaginative interpretation is Gil Goldstein's solo take on "Punk Jazz, where he builds layer upon layer of sound, often processed heavily, to create a unique accordion tour-de-force.

Probably the most surprising aspect of Gospel for JFP III is its general avoidance of virtuosic bass playing. By focusing instead on the myriad of possibilities for interpretation, the album succeeds in demonstrating the true breadth of Pastorius' compositional legacy. Some tracks work better than others, but this mixed bag is nevertheless an essential work whose open-mindedness is perhaps the best tribute possible to an artist who, nearly twenty years after his death, remains a vital and visible influence.

Track Listing: Three Views of a Secret; Las Olas; Havona; Continuum; I Can Dig It Baby; Dania; Punk Jazz; Teen Town; Microcosm; Good Morning Anya; Gospel for J.F.P. III

Personnel: Hiram Bullock (electric guitar on

Title: Gospel for JFP III: Tribute to Jaco Pastorius | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Moonjune Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by John Sharpe
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Resonance CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Black Focus CD/LP/Track Review Black Focus
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Rough Boundaries" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Boundaries
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn" CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "DICE" CD/LP/Track Review DICE
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "Rhythm and Romance" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythm and Romance
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.