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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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JACO PASTORIUS

Live in Montreal

Universal 0602517078963

 

 


1. Chicken
2. Donna Lee
3. Bass Solo
4. Mr Phone Bone
5. Fannie Mae
Jaco Pastorius - Bass
Peter Erskine – Drums
Don Alias – Percussion
Othello Molineaux – Steel drum
Randy Brecker – Trumpet
Bob Mintzer – Tenor sax, bass clarinet

Jaco Pastorius fixed his name in the history of jazz as the man who established the fretless bass guitar and displayed amazing virtuosity on the instrument. This DVD allows us to watch that virtuosity in action, but it gives us a lot more – a whole band playing together with consummate skill and togetherness.

Filmed at the Montreal Jazz Festival in the early 1980s, this concert provides nearly an hour of first-class jazz. Bob Mintzer is outspoken on tenor sax in the opening number, underpinned by Jaco’s clear and propulsive bass. Othello Molineaux coaxes a wide range of sounds out of a single steel drum – possibly the most awkward musical instrument ever devised by man – but Othello makes it sing radiantly.

Bob Mintzer transfers to the bass clarinet to introduce Donna Lee, to be joined by gentle percussion and then Randy Brecker’s electronically treated trumpet, and only then does the melody emerge from the whole band. After solos from Randy and Bob, Jaco does a solo using lots of space for the notes to breathe, backed by the two hustling percussionists. Jaco is left alone on stage for what is billed simply as Bass Solo, although he is accompanied by a rather heavy-footed recorded rhythm track. Thankfully the rhythm track is eventually turned off, and Jaco goes into what sounds like The Whiffenpoof Song before cutting off a bass solo that should have lasted longer (how often can you say that?).

Mr Phone Bone is perhaps the highlight of the concert – introduced commandingly by Mintzer on tenor sax. The tune is very complex but the band plays it with complete precision. It climaxes with a grandstanding drum solo (although the camera regrettably doesn’t focus on Peter Erskine throughout his solo). For an encore, the shuffling Fannie Mae has a relaxed, good-time feel, driven by Jaco’s masterful bass and topped by his vocals.

Despite the camera not always concentrating on the right musicians, this is a keepable DVD of a splendid concert.


Tony Augarde

 



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