Jaco Pastorious Big Band – Word Of Mouth

Jaco Pastorious Big BandJaco Pastorious Big Band
Word Of Mouth
(Heads Up – 2003)
by John Thompson

Jaco Pastorious. How good of an electric bass player was he? In 1976 at age 26, he joined the famous fusion group, Weather Report, and released a self-titled album considered a jazz-fusion classic. He is definitely an icon in jazz history, ranking with the likes of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and the like. Here, the Jaco Pastorious Big Band features past members of a Florida based jazz big band formerly known as The Peter Graves Orchestra include four woodwinds, five Brasses, piano, guitar and drum players, and an additional four players to provide damn good music. And, as a tribute release, there are the electric bass players. 10 to be exact.

The style of music is Fusion. There is much that can be said about the featured bassists on this cd but that would require one to write at least a pamphlet that time does not permit; however, check out this list and the number of songs that they appear on: Victor Bailey (2), Richard Bona, Jeff Carswell, Jimmy Haslip (2), Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, nephew David Pastorious, Gerald Veasley (2) the incredible Victor Wooten and, from a live performance, Jaco (bass line only). The disc comes filled with 13 songs (four of which debuted on Pastorious’s first album) and strong performances can be found on 12 of the tracks (Killing Me Softly excluded). Also appearing are some five second spoken words between songs.

As for my favorites, Jimmy Haslip opens with some inspiring work on Havona, Wooten shows why he is ‘not of this planet’ on Teen Town, Punk Jazz is a showcase for Richard Bona to add his licks, Gerald Veasley provides nasty lines on Barbary Coast, Bailey holds it down on Domingo, and Marcus Miller brings his own “band” and style in, showing his skills and adding his own touch to Punk Jazz.

What makes the performances on this release so great are that, for the most part, the featured artists are able to illustrate their technique and artistry that pays homage to Pastorious, and the Big Band, along with the arrangements are first quality because there is no over-production. Solos that come from the Band members seem to exist in harmony with all that is going on. A bonus to owning this cd is that it is an “enhanced cd” with a video, artist profiles and more. This is a five star release that displays the type of sound and feel that Jaco Pastorious pioneered.

Check out last month’s feature on Gerald Veasley that I wrote. His performances on this release are what I was talking about. Way to “give it up” Gerald!