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Jaco Pastorius Big Band: The Word is Out

Jim Santella By

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With this second album by the Jaco Pastorius Big Band, led by Peter Graves in South Florida, we're reminded of the impact that the virtuosic bassist left behind.

Pastorius' big band roots go all the way back to his earliest professional development. Before the bassist got noticed, he had been working near his home in South Florida with the Peter Graves Orchestra. Graves, a trombonist who had learned the ropes working in the house band for The Jackie Gleason Show, led a jazz orchestra near the bassist's home. About ten years later, after Pastorius had made his claim to fame, his own Florida big band included Peter Graves among its members.

This tribute band plays the music of Jaco Pastorius, as well as other selections that the bassist and bandleader enjoyed performing before audiences all over the world. Quite naturally, the album features electric bass (in the hands of a series of players) along with other contemporary sounds that capture the essence of Jaco's passionate fury. Soloists such as Ed Calle, Mike Stern, Toots Thielemans and Bob Mintzer provide beautiful themes that recall Jaco's love for lyricism.

The program outlines both smooth, lyrical qualities and fiery, forcefully driving rants. "Three Views of a Secret flows evenly with a powerful melodic approach that features Calle on soprano. The band's mellow interpretation warms the heart. "Dania provides a fast romp that features Mintzer on tenor and Randy Brecker on trumpet. "Word of Mouth features Arturo Sandoval in a hot affair that demonstrates his ample virtuosity. The big band interprets "River People with a down-home familiarity that features trumpeter Brecker and guitarist Randy Bernsen in a passionate high point.

The album closes with "Reza, which features Jaco Pastorius on bass, folded into the recording from an old tape which Graves had isolated. The band records around that, paying respects to a bassist and composer who left his mark on the music world with indelible ink.

Visit Jaco Pastorius on the web.


Track Listing: Dania; Las Olas; Sirabhorn; Beaver Patrol; Cannonball; Kuru / Speak Like a Child; Three Views of a Secret; Blackbird / Word of Mouth; Good Morning Anya; River People; Reza.

Personnel: Peter Graves: conductor; Billy Ross: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, piccolo; Ed Calle: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, clarinet; Gary Keller: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet; Mike Brignola: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Jim Hacker, Jason Carder, Ken Faulk: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dana Teboe: trombone; John Kricker: bass trombone; Mike Levine: piano, synthesizers; Randy Bernsen: guitar; Jeff Carswell: bass; Mark Griffith: drums. Guests: Michelle Amato, Dana Paul: vocals; Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone; Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker: trumpet; Toots Thielemans: harmonica; Mike Stern, Hiram Bullock: guitar; Robert Thomas, Jr.: hand drums; Othello Molineaux: steel drums; Peter Erskine: drums; Victor Wooten, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip, Mark Egan, Oteil Burbridge, Israel

Title: The Word is Out | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Heads Up International

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