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PUNK JAZZ:
THE JACO PASTORIUS ANTHOLOGY
(Rhino)
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Punk Jazz provides a well-rounded account of the late fretless-electric-bassist Jaco Pastoriusís groundbreaking career. His unorthodox use of chords, harmonics, and melody coupled with an unusual blending of funk, classical, fusion, and Latin elements revolutionized the way the electric bass was thought of in jazz. Although his style has since been expanded upon, Pastoriusís work is worthy of the re-examination itís given here.

Rather than overloading the collection with familiar tracks from his stint in the í70s fusion outfit Weather Report, the first disc of this two-CD set unearths a number of Pastoriusís guest appearances with other artists in which the bass invariably ends up high in the mix. For "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" from Joni Mitchellís Mingus and Pat Methenyís "Midwestern Summer Nightís Dream," he provides improvisations. And "Continuum" highlights his melodic use of both strumming chords and harmonics. Disc two chronicles the Word of Mouth Big Band, featuring Herbie Hancock, Don Alias, and Toots Thielemans. Here, Pastoriusís abilities as full-scale composer become evident. His choices of obscure instrumentation (timpani, gong, steel pans) as well as his incorporation of world-music elements in "Liberty City" and the tone poem "John and Mary" attest to his ambition and his intensity as both player and arranger. Only "Good Morning Anya," from the unreleased album Holiday for Pans, lacks compositional intensity, hinting at the depression and drug-addled confusion that in the end marred his Muse.

BY CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY


Issue Date: October 17 - 23, 2003
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