This anthology is long over due. Jaco Pastorious was and still is the greatest electric bass player these ears have ever heard. Bold, soulful, melodic and full of pure talent – he is the benchmark for modern bass players and his arranging skills cannot be overlooked in the big band arena. As a total musician, Jaco Pastorious was a Genius. He left us way too soon. Upfront, this anthology is a welcomed addition to my music collection. I have managed to purchase most of his recordings, including the imported “Twins” Japanese concert that was only partially released on the U.S. “Invitation” album. Jaco had a long list of valuable guest roles on other artists recordings that are well represented here.
From the very start, Jaco had massive groove and technique. Listen to the bass lines on “I can Dig It Baby” – his signature sound is well defined on that 1974 track. His horn arranging skills are already in full bloom on the 1968 version of “The Chicken” – wow! The first disc is full of suprises that might have escaped many Jaco fans – if not captured here on Anthology. The beautiful “Midwestern Nights Dream” with Pat Metheny, was my first exposue to Jaco and his sound has been with me ever since. “Foreign Fun” is a lovely open-rump that allows Jaco, Mouzon and Mangelsdorff to stretch out and improvise within a tight groove. “Nativity” and “Las Olas” captures Jaco in the Airto and Flora Purim camp – laying down that fat Florida bass sound that only Pastorious could produce. The two Michel Colombier tracks “Sunday” and “Layas” are classic late 70’s fusion workouts – bold, brassy and fun. The two Joni Mitchell tracks capture some of Jaco’s most vibrant playing from the 1979 “Mingus” period. Exceptional contributions by Jaco always added a breath of fresh air to other artists’ sound. For Joni, Jaco was a soulmate. They blended well together and made music magic on three Joni recordings. You can see this band live on the brilliant “Shadows and Light” DVD being released June 24th. Jaco is in top form during that concert and is part of a super group that includes Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny. Jaco fans should not miss that one.