Jaco Pastorius

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Jaco Pastorius
LABELS: Resonance
ALBUM TITLE: Truth, Liberty and Soul
WORKS: Truth, Liberty and Soul
PERFORMER: Jaco Pastorius (bass, vocals), Bob Mintzer (sax etc), Randy Brecker (trumpet) et al, Musicians from the Word of Mouth Big Band

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The doyen of the fretless bass guitar has been poorly served by shoddy posthumous releases since his passing in 1987, so it’s nice to have this 1982 New York concert issued for the first time with good, clean (if slightly flat-sounding) audio quality. The set itself certainly captures the atmosphere of a star-studded occasion, but as ever the music is something of a curate’s egg.

Pastorius could deploy his remarkable technique in ways that took his instrument to entirely new places, but he could just as easily play too many notes too fast and at tone-destroying volume. We get a mixture of both here, manifest as a pad of big band charts which vary from the pro-forma to the adventurous. The bassist’s contributions are far more sensitive and genuinely musical within the looser, less cluttered arrangements, so hold out for those. The rambling 98-page booklet is a similarly mixed blessing.

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Roger Thomas