View Full Version : Jaco

03-16-2010, 04:14 PM
Every instrument has an innovator that changes how players perceive the instrument. In Jazz, Louis Armstrong revolutionized the Trumpet and turned playing it into a brash freewheeling affair the echoes of which can still be heard in the players of today.

Jaco Pastorius revolutionized the electric bass in the late 1970s and brought to it a new level of technical and tonal depth that continues to influence players to this day. He was a towering figure who set the bar for guys like me back when I was a serious player making a living as a musician. (In some ways he was the Hendrix of bass)

He fell into increasing mental illness and drug abuse in his later years and was beaten to death in a barroom altercation in 1987, dieing at the age of 35.

To go along with this painting, I'm posting this link to a song written for Jaco and performed by myself with my current Jazz trio. It is called Lullaby for Jaco (http://www.alkratzer.com/Jaco.mp3) (warning: pretty large file -- my apologies to anyone on dial-up)

03-16-2010, 10:02 PM
Beautiful painting Al. Thanks also for the story. Such a tragedy for such a brilliant man.

03-17-2010, 10:39 AM
Thanks Sandra. Whenever I hear about some genius dieing young I wonder about the trade off.

If someone came to you before you were born and said "You have a choice, you can be John Lennon, (or Charlie Parker, or Jimi Hendrix, or Jaco Pastorius, etc.) or you can be a person who plays a little guitar on the porch in the evening and you can live in some backwater town in the sticks and live to be 100 years old." Which would you choose?

D Akey
03-17-2010, 06:04 PM
Same choice was supposedly offered to Alexander the Great. Short dazzling life filled with immortal fame and conquest, riches and power or a very long life of comparative insignificance. Tough question, Don Corleone.

When I was younger I would have picked the blazing light. Not so sure now, since my life's path has been unfolding in some amazing ways that I never could have anticipated. What may look like oblivion to the outside world ain't necessarily so.

Jaco Pastorius. I remember hearing his name decades ago when the new age sort of jazz sound was coming in. A headlining bassist. That was pretty incomprehensible in and of itself. But it really was all that you said.

So you are a jazz musician. I might have guessed from your painting. Your aesthetic awareness and your deliberate breaking of the rules has a jazzy feel. And all that saturated color, sure. You're sticking to the structure in a broad way and scrapping the fiddly quality of a lead instrument in favor of tonal segments. As bass might be considered the instrument to hold the backbone, the backbone is there in the pictures.

And at the same time, I run the risk of missing what you're intention is completely since I'm basing the analogy on a notion of what I think the bass in music provides. Anyway, it's far more interesting to me now that I have a working idea of what are the forces in play. . . or not. hahah.

Groovy stuff. And I really like your music, my friend. :):):):):)

03-18-2010, 11:21 AM
Thanks D

You are right, the bass usually provides a foundational role -- a link between the primitive rhythm of a heartbeat (drums) and full-blown language of the lead guitar or piano. That's why it is usually best to find a neanderthal to play the bass -- they excel at repetitious pre-linguistic grunts.

Jaco was the first modern human bass player and he forced a lot of us to evolve. I used the overall red to indicate the glowing heat he produced, even as his star was burning out.

03-18-2010, 12:35 PM
hi alkratzer

I like your style:rolleyes: very light:)