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Jaco Pastorius: Punk Jazz: The Jaco Pastorius Anthology

Chris M. Slawecki By

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This comprehensive 28-track, 2-CD anthology recounts in detail the genuine bass-playing revolution detonated by the in your face approach and sound advanced by Jaco Pastorius.

Like a good Anthology, this really covers just about everything. That means his five years as a third lead voice in Weather Report, alongside Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, with the ubiquitous “Birdland.” Also: selections from his own sessions as a solo artist and a bandleader, including live recordings of “Punk Jazz,” his “Word of Mouth” band, and the Jaco Pastorius Big Band. Then there are the guest spots with Pat Metheny, Paul Bley, Flora Purim, Airto (with Airto and Purim smartly programmed back to back), and Joni Mitchell, with languid and glorious versions of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” from Mingus and “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines” from Mitchell’s live Shadows and Light album. And (for Pastorius nuts) even three previously unreleased tracks, including a home recording of his famously funky “The Chicken” and “Good Morning Anya” from Pastorius’ unfinished, never released second studio album for Warner Bros., the steel drum project Holiday For Pans.

Punk Jazz offers much proof positive of Jaco’s genius: as a soloist on “Batterie” in the company of Paul Bley, Pat Metheny, and Bruce Ditmas; with an impressionistic cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and a beautiful live solo version of “Amerika”; in his fuzztone stomps through “Word of Mouth” (“Hendrix on bass” may be the only way to describe it); and the way he punches out “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines” with a murderous flurry of sixteenth notes.

Punk Jazz is not only essential to understanding the last three decades of modern electric bass, it also serves as a de facto history of jazz fusion. Start with the beginning of the first disc, which leaps and gallops like a newborn colt, wild and unbridled, from combinations of amplified modern jazz and modern pop and rock such as the almost naively soulful “I Can Dig It Baby” and the hard-driving “Amelia” with Wayne Cochran’s C. C. Riders from 1972. Then sample the second disc and hear jazz fusion grow more sophisticated, partly from incorporating traditional ethnic instruments from every corner of the world, as on the full-blown orchestral suite “Chromatic Fantasy” and “Okonkolé Y Trompa” by the Pastorius Big Band in 1982.


Track Listing: The Chicken (home recording); Amelia; I Can Dig It Baby; Batterie; Continuum; Midwestern Nights Dream; Foreign Film; Birdland; Nativity; Las Olas; Sunday; Layas; Goodbye Porkpie Hat; The Dry Clean From Des Moines; Punk Jazz; 3 Views Of A Secret; Liberty City; Word Of Mouth; John And Mary; Good Morning Anya; Invitation; Soul Intro./The Chicken; Amerika; Okonkole

Personnel: Jaco Pastorius - Electric Bass; Various Artists

Title: Punk Jazz: The Jaco Pastorius Anthology | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Rhino Records

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