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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Top bunch of stuff for March 19, 2014

A bunch of stuff by Jaco Pastorius

Back in my days at Famous Music College, I, like many there, had my Jaco period. (This was also not long after his tragic, violent death.) He is one of those relatively few who managed to be both macholy virtuosic and sensitive-artiste like in a balanced manner.

Digging through a box while looking for something else I pulled out his two probably best and best known albums, his eponymous triumphant arrival album from 1976 and grand artistic statement Word of Mouth from 1981.


The starry array of talent on the self-titled album delivers and certainly lifts it out of the "fusion" ghetto to which the album is often proscribed. The standard review of this album is usually contains some comment about the concluding track "Forgotten Love" being a sort of "concerto for Herbie Hancock". I feel this is due entirely to the fact that Herbie plays the piano and is backed up by strings, pretty much the only thing this track has in common with a concerto. However a kind of ersatz piano concerto can be devised by  playing in sequence "Kuru/Speak Like A Child", its dual themes making a sort of sonata allegro form; "Forgotten Love"as a rhapsodic slow movement and "(Used to Be A) Cha-Cha" as your rondo-variations finale.

As for Word of Mouth, the variety on display is the attraction. The collective improvisation of Crisis. The lyrical and pastoral orchestrations of 3 Views of a Secret and John and Mary. The expressive blowing on Blackbird and Word of Mouth. This is an all-time favorite I've listed to more times that I could imagine over the years, but not, seemingly, in ages.

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