Jazz CD Reviews
Jaco Pastorius: The Essential Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius, bass – Sony Legacy
Published on August 25, 2007
Jaco Pastorius lived a relatively short life, but he burned very brightly during the brief time he was among us. In a forward to the liner notes for this compilation, Carlos Santana says that he doesn’t agree with all the over-sentimentalism regarding Jaco’s premature death. The main thing is that he made such astonishing contributions to the art of his instrument – and that he will never be forgotten for his prowess. The two discs that make up this collection are comprised of selections from his two solo albums, his classic body of work with Weather Report and selections from his many collaborations with artists as diverse as Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell. Joni Mitchell was particularly enamoured with his playing, but then, truthfully – who wasn’t?
The works that are probably the least familiar to most people here are the selections from the solo albums – his work with Weather Report and especially those with Joni Mitchell received a great deal of airplay in their day, and even now, rarely a day goes by that “Birdland” doesn’t make it onto any of the local or Internet-based jazz stations. The comprehensive selection of cuts here are as diverse as they are numerous, but they all share the same jazz-funk groove that was Jaco Pastorius. The only oversight seems to be the lack of inclusion of any of the work he did on the short-lived Trio Of Doom experiment (see my review of that disc), but otherwise, there’s a whole lot of Jaco for the buck here. The package is nice as well, and includes a well-crafted and thoughtful essay by Bill Milkowski, who also happens to be Jaco Pastorius’ biographer. Very highly recommended.
TrackList: Donna Lee; Come On, Come Over; Continuum; Kuru/Speak Like A Child; Portrait of Tracy; Opus Pocus; (Used To Be A) Cha-Cha; Bright Size Life; Barbary Coast; Hejira; Talk To Me; Birdland; A Remark You Made; Teen Town; Havona; River People; Punk Jazz; The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines; Dreamland; 4 A.M.; Teen Town (live); Slang; Port Of Entry; Soul Intro/The Chicken; Three Views Of A Secret; Liberty City; John And Mary.
— Tom Gibbs