Jaco Pastorius – S/T

Spinning Jaco Pastorius at 45RPM rules.

Originally produced in 1976, arguably when records pressed at Columbia were at their sonic worst, this record now finds its volatile tracks split onto a pair of LPs. What a difference.

Released at the beginning of the instrumentalist’s tenure with Weather Report, the record includes heavy hitters Lenny White, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter, to name a few. The mix is not straight-ahead jazz, but it’s not fully locked into fusion, either. Some pieces sound like they could have been culled from the outtakes of Hancock’s Blow Up sessions. Beginning with the only cover tune on the list – Miles Davis’ “Donna Lee,”  Pastorius takes the lead on bass as Don Alias is his sole accompaniment on congas.  The congas, which sound horribly flat on the original, come alive on this 45 r.p.m. masterpiece, floating around the middle of the soundstage, setting the tone for what lies in store on the rest of the record.

Track four, “Continuum” is much more spacey and free form, the foundation of the sound Pastorius goes on to create with Weather Report, with loose drumming and gentle Fender Rhoads riffs in the background.  While this record contains a handful of stylistic changes, Pastorius’ mastery of the bass guitar is consistent throughout.

Bernie Grundman takes the production helm here and fully utilizes his lifetime of jazz-related experience to give this masterpiece the attention it deserves. Pastorius’ bass is finely depicted, his parts effortlessly gliding through the soundstage. Hancock’s piano soars, liberated from the sonic grunge of the original. My speakers can barely contain this record!

Note: To naysayers claiming today’s remasters lack the vitality of the original recordings, grab this record now and await pleasant discoveries.

Click here to purchase this album at Music Direct.