Paying homage to one of jazz music's greatest electric bass players seems an effortless and genuine mission on this new release dedicated to the late John Francis (Jaco) Pastorius III, who left an unforgettable mark on the hearts of musicians and fans across the globe. His brief but profound career spanned recordings with guitarist Pat Metheny and singer Joni Mitchell, but his fame reached its apex with the '70s fusion supergroup Weather Report alongside jazz greats Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. There have been numerous dedications to Pastorious since his untimely death in 1987, and Gospel for JFP III ranks as a fine addition, with some strikingly different sounds covering the bassist's music from early beginnings through well documented works.
The recording does an interesting job of conveying Pastorius' dynamic energy and spirit by bringing together a variety of musicians and vocalists with fresh and inventive interpretations of pieces like the classic "Three Views of a Secret, from his recording Word of Mouth, with guitarists Hiram Bullock and Birelli Lagrene backed by a full choir.
One of the most outrageous is the Weather Report piece "Punk Jazz, which is performed entirely on accordion by Gil Goldstein. The sound is quite different but it totally swings like the original. Newcomers and longtime fans will find something to enjoy on the mellow version of "Continuum, the funky hard rocking "Teen Town, Jaco's early recording "I Can Dig It Baby, and the title piece. These performances are indeed good news for music fans, whatever their style preferences. Like a shooting star, the bassist left a trail of inspiration and wonderful music that is still revered today.
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