Don't be too disconcerted by the enigmatically flavorless cover to this unusual CD, the only tribute to John Francis "Jaco" Pastorius, the tormented but brilliant bass player, that I know of. Though the cartoon would have the project seem to be a cross between Metal Hurlant and Poe's Masque of the Red Death, the disc is actually a higher level meeting of trad / latin / fusion jazz minds, a hell of a lot of them: Alex Acuna, Hiram Bullock, Hugo Fattoruso, Danny Gottlieb, Billy Hart, Toninho Horta, Marcus Miller, Mike Stern…and that's just the start.
Except for two tracks, all songs were written by Jaco, led off by a long vocal / duo-guitar cut, Three Views of a Secret, covered by Contrafarsa and Hiram Bullock / Bireli Lagrene. The lion's share of the disc favors the latinated sounds Pastorius loved, more than once mindful of Hermeto Pascoal and ilk. The far end of fusion chops-vending is largely eschewn for something more along the line of Jose Bertrami's old Azymuth group with segments of Pat Moraz's I, a Brazilian pastiche, thrown in. Yes, there is indeed a healthy percentage of solos and speedstering, but that's not the CD's matrix.
One of the highlights, Teen Town, runs trade-offs among keyboards and guitar (Bullock) somewhat reminiscent of the old Mouzon / Bolin or Cobham / Bolin exchanges, mutant hi-energy, while the follower, Microcosm, is a piano-led trio shading into West Coast inner city cool. Gil Goldstein then multi-tracks accordions to catch a version of Punk Jazz, becoming a small squeeze-box orchestra folding into itself, the sort of odd sound Jaco loved.
I caught Pastorius in Tampa, Florida, in the 70s when Weather Report was touring with Al DiMeola, and not only was the group in an unusual period of extended repetitive structures lending a hypnotic extra dimension to their material, but Jaco was working out with some kind of loop station during his mindblowing solos, a crazed player who couldn't push enough out of his fingers. It was quite a night, catching Al, Joe, Wayne, and Jaco all in the space of a few hours, playing for all they were worth, and I have to suspect that more than a few of the participants in this CD caught the esteemed late bassist in similar situations, while also laying ears to his vinyl output, the real basis for this anthology trib.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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