Jaco Pastorius Bass Lines

Oteil Burbridge (The Allman Brothers Band; Tedeschi Trucks Band)
Burbridge first heard Pastorius when he was over at a friend’s house for a jam session. “I remember my big brother Kofi telling me to sit down and check out ‘Donna Lee’ and not really believing what I was hearing,” he says. “Since it was a duet with percussionist Don Alias, there was really no room for studio tricks.”

Burbridge thought to himself, “Man this is impossible.” “Right then I knew that the only limitations on the bass were self made. That meant they could be totally remade or destroyed altogether.”

Burbridge was a teenager when saw Pastorius perform live with Weather Report at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in 1977. What heard that night motivated him to become a professional musician: “It impacted me so hard that it altered the course of my life. The synergy between Jaco, Wayne [Shorter], [Joe] Zawinul, [Peter] Erskine and Robert Thomas Jr. was pure magic living at its peak. I thought if I could reach a mere shadow of what I saw that night, it would be worth whatever trials I would have to face. Nothing tops inspiration and that is what you usually got with Jaco.”

When asked with what song he would introduce someone to Pastorius who had never heard him, Burbridge suggests, “Havona” or “A Remark You Made,” but he can’t choose one for himself. “God, how could I possibly pick one song of his to be my favorite? ‘Three Views [of a Secret]?’ ‘Continuum?’ Everything he did with Joni? Every single song on Bright Size Life?”

For Burbridge, Pastorius’ legacy is “to do what you hear in your head regardless of whether or not someone says it’s ‘allowed.’ Things are only impossible until someone proves them otherwise. Let history be the judge. Roles can be expanded, changed, or completely discarded. He didn’t care if beboppers didn’t like electric bass. He didn’t care if rockers didn’t like jazz. He took a derogatory term like “Punk Jazz” andmade it legit.”

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