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
Triumph of the Underdog
Runtime: 1 hr 18 minDon McGlynn's uncompromising and soulful documentary look at the tumultuous life of musician and rebel Charles Mingus is simply fascinating. Mingus said of himself "I am half black man, half yellow man, but I claim to be a Negro. I am Charles Mingus, the famed jazz musician--but not famed enough to make a living in America." His statement summed up the conflict that plagued this musical genius his entire life: volatility, pain, prescience, and raw rage roiled inside a complex man, composer, bass player, and trombonist who transcended labels and refused to be pigeonholed into a single musical style--and who did not achieve real fame until late in his career. The documentary is full of well-preserved footage and contains interviews with many Mingus followers like Wynton Marsalis as well as performances by icons Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan. The film traverses past the musical legend with insight and information into Mingus's personal life, his civil rights activism, and his final triumph in the music world--just as his body began to deteriorate from Lou Gehrig's disease--to his eventual death in 1979. Mingus left a legacy composed of genius, vulnerability, brilliance, anarchy, and, as one friend noted, "the entire range of human emotion that is reflected in his music.
The Miles Davis Story
Runtime: 2 hr 4 minTrumpeter-bandleader Miles Davis (1926-91) was a catalyst for the major innovations in post-bop, cool jazz, hard-bop, and jazz-fusion, and his wispy and emotional trumpet tones were some of the most evocative sounds ever heard. He was also one of the most identifiable and misunderstood pop icons of the 20th century. This engrossing British documentary shows the complex layers of this magnificent and mercurial artist. Through rare footage and interviews, we learn of Davis's middle-class upbringing and his early days with bop legends Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The documentary bluntly deals with Davis's narcotic nadir and his rise from the depths to become a bona fide jazz icon in the mid-'50s to late '60s. But the most penetrating and poignant portraits of Davis come from musicians who played with and were influenced by him, including Shirley Horn, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Jarrett.
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
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 - 1974
Runtime: 51 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.
We Live Here
Pat Metheny Group
Runtime: 1 hr 50 minSome six years after their previous studio album, the Pat Metheny Group regrouped in 1995 to release the album We Live Here. This was to be the first of a set of three albums that the band refer to as the triptych, the others being Quartet (1996) and Imaginary Day (1997). Following the release of the album, the Pat Metheny Group embarked on a world tour during which this concert was filmed in Japan. Many of the tracks from the We Live Here album are included along with others from their various eighties albums. There are short interview segments with the band members inserted between some of the songs which give an insight into the creation of the album and life on the tour.
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.