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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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1. Vashkar (9:54)
2. Poconos (1:03)
3. Donkey (6:28)
4. Vampira (7:17)
5. Overtoned (1:43)
6. Jaco (3:30)
7. Batterie (5:05)
8. King Korn (0:30)
9. Blood (1:25)

Jaco Pastorius (bass guitar); Pat Metheny (guitar); Paul Bley (electric piano); Bruce Ditmas (drums)
rec. Blue Rock Studio, NYC, 16 June 1974


The vibe is chic, the ethos is expansive, and there's little real depth to any of it. That's the main impression listening to this 1974 session. It's a shame that Paul Bley's electric piano is a bit muddy and has been under recorded because, not matter how glib I may find him here, he's certainly one of the few musicians who can bring a sense of personalisation and individuality to the electric piano. The opening track, the longest, does seem `dated' in its rather vapid explorations, not aided by the unsubtle drumming of Bruce Ditmas, not one of life's shrinking violets. Pastorius himself is a combative and virtuosic bass leader, his throbbing tone to the fore in Donkey where Metheny threads his guitar phrases through the spaces.

There's a degree of kitsch - or let's call it loquacious filmic funk - in Vampira where Metheny is obvious, Pastorius dull. The best track by far, apart from the small bagatelle like tracks, is Jaco, where the leader's nasal bass lines and Metheney's amazing high-wire guitar playing go toward a strong funk workout. Certainly the bassist's virtuosity is never in doubt, as a listen to Batterie will disclose. And it was difficult, as the album reached the end, to distinguish between the last three tracks, which seemed to meld together uniformly.

Clearly this re-release will have its particular constituency. The sound quality, as distinct from the original studio set-up, is good, as are the notes.

Jonathan Woolf

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