No other bassist lived such a controversial life or elicited such a bipolar response as Jaco Pastorius. Listeners love him or hate him, alternately calling him the greatest bass player who ever lived (as Jaco often called himself) or claiming that he was not really a jazz player at all. Regardless of how he is categorized, one fact is indisputable -- Jaco changed the way fretless electric bass is performed. He brought the instrument to the forefront, setting new standards for technique and range of tone on the instrument. As a sideman, Pastorius displayed a deft sense of melody and taste, recording classic albums with a range of artists including Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny and Herbie Hancock. He also served as an integral member of bands including Weather Report and Word of Mouth. His self-titled debut (1976) sent many aspiring bassists home to regroup; the album starts with a blistering version of Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee" and never lets up. Unfortunately, Jaco's partying ways and trash-talking proved to be his demise -- he was beaten to death after trying to force his way into a nightclub in 1987.
Jaco Pastorius Concert Films
Live and Outrageous
Runtime: 58 minA flamboyant performer, brilliant musician, and one of the founders of jazz fusion, Jaco Pastorius was the most innovative electric bass player of all time, creating a fluid sound on the fretless bass that leapt out of the rhythm section into the front line. Jaco is In peak form with a top notch band of hand picked musicians in his only full concert performance on Film.
Jaco Pastorius Top Tracks
Live in Munich
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minFor more than 50 years, trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis was a major innovator of cool, modal, avant-garde, and fusion jazz styles. This program captures Davis's band: alto saxophonist/flutist Kenny Garrett, Keyboardists Robert Irving III and Adam Holzmann, lead bassist Joseph "Foley" McCreary, and bassist Benjamin Rietveld, percussionist Marilyn Mazur, and drummer Ricky Wellman, live in Munich, Germany on July 10th, 1988. With these musicians' sympathetic and syncopated support, Davis's trademarked Harmon-muted trumpet tones dance and trance over the combo's supple electric swing. Throughout the concert, Davis glides across the stage with the elegance and power of a dancer and a fighter, huddling with his sidemen to play and share a phrase. Interview snippets with Davis feature the trumpeter frankly discussing his other passion, artwork. All told, Miles in Munich shows that the man called "Prince of Darkness" was full of artistic light near the end of his creative life.
Epitaph: Live from Lincoln Center
Runtime: 2 hr 20 minOn June 3rd, 1989, the Alice Tully Hall at New York's Lincoln Center was the venue for the world premiere performance of Charles Mingus' masterpiece "Epitaph". Conductor Gunther Schuller directed 30 musicians in what the New York Times described as "One of the most memorable jazz events of the decade". The piece had been discovered after Mingus' death in 1979 and painstakingly restored and copied. It is the largest and longest piece for jazz orchestra ever written and is now available here on film for the first time.
Solos: The Jazz Sessions
Runtime: 48 minGuitarist John Abercrombie combines bop and free jazz stylistic elements with electronics utilizing phase shifters, guitar synthesizers and the good old volume pedal. What has kept his playing fresh is his refusal to be chained to these digital devices. As he told Down Beat writer Bill Milkowski, "I try to adjust my playing to the timbre and learn something about how to play that sound, yet at the same time I have to try and force the instrument to play with me a little bit. In other word, I sometimes try to overplay the instrument."
Live at Montreux - 1984
Runtime: 1 hr 54 minFormed by John McLaughlin in 1971, the Mahavishnu Orchestra pioneered the fusion of jazz elements into rock music while still undeniably retaining the power and muscle of a full on rock band. With McLaughlin as the ever-present, the line-up went through various phases and these two concerts from Montreux showcase the band at distinctively different times of their career, with the seventies show featuring later stars Jean-Luc Ponty and Michael Walden and the eighties concert featuring saxophone maestro Bill Evans.
Live at Montreux
Return To Forever
Runtime: 1 hr 49 minReturn To Forever were at the forefront of jazz/rock fusion in the seventies and like their contemporaries Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra were formed by a former Miles Davis sideman, in this case the great Chick Corea. Return To Forever hit their commercial and artistic peak with a string of albums in the mid-seventies featuring the line-up of Chick Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar and Lenny White on drums. In 2008 this classic line-up reunited for their first tour in 25 years and proved that their musicianship and the chemistry within the band were as strong as ever. This concert was filmed at Montreux in July 2008 with the bonus tracks being filmed in Clearwater, Florida later the same month.
Live At The Quick
Béla Fleck and The Flecktones
Runtime: 2 hr 5 minRecorded in the summer of 2000, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones’ Live At The Quick features an expanded version of the bluegrass-fusion band’s lineup, featuring guest artists from the band’s eighth album, Outbound.
Live at Montreux 1996
Runtime: 56 minWayne Shorter is one of the most significant jazz performers of modern times. He performed as part of Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers and then Miles Davis band in the sixties before co-founding Weather Report with Joe Zawinul in the early seventies. This Montreux concert from 1996 features the Wayne Shorter Quintet and followed on from the release of his Grammy Award winning album High Life.
The Way Up: Live
Pat Metheny Group
Runtime: 1 hr 9 minPat Metheny is one of the most original and distinctive guitarists of modern times. Together with long time collaborator and keyboards player Lyle Mays he founded the Pat Metheny Group in 1978. Instantly successful, they have established themselves at the forefront of jazz-rock fusion with a succession of best selling albums and sell out world tours. Filmed in late 2005, features the full concert version of his most recent album "The Way Up", which earned Pat Metheny Group their 10th Grammy Award® and Metheny personally his 17th.