Well as final exam day is upon me today (Jazz Apprieciation class), I decided that I wanted to share this beautiful gem with all of you.
Entitled "Portrait of Tracy" it is one of the most beautiful and moving electric bass guitar solos that I have ever had the pleasure to lay ears on.
Pastorius was a true innovator in his craft -- utilizing harmonics on his fretless bass to turn the bass into a melodic instrument. A big part of Jaco's genius is that he could make the bass "sing" unlike anyone that I have ever heard of. Previously the bass had largely been a rhythm instrument -- but with Jaco , it was the main attraction.
It is not surprising that he was recently voted "The Greatest Bass Guitar Player Who Ever Lived" in a 2006 issue of Bass Guitar magazine.
The above track is taken from his self-titled debeut album (1976). I have been listening trough a lot of the tracks on that album and have just been completely blown away and moved. If you want to hear something that will take your breath away -- then I highly suggest looking into this classic album (and his full discography for that matter -- it's all amazing stuff).
Pastorius moved on to create more amazing music as the bass player for jazz mega-group, Weather Report.
However, drugs, alcohol and severe mental illness shortened his life and career tremendously. Jaco was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 1982, but had since been nursing a bad alcohol problem well before that diagnosis.
Towards the end of his life he was living on the streets -- pretty much out of his mind from all of the drugs and the mental instability. He died tragically in 1987 as a result of head injuries he received in a fight with a bouncer at the Midnight Bottle Club (Florida).
He was only 35 years old.
If there really is a fine line between insanity and genius -- then I believe that Jaco ultimately personified a life spent tip-toeing on top of that line.
Still -- there is no denying the musical legacy he left us with. His technical innovations opened up a world of possibilities for bass players and musicians everywhere and the music that he left us with is just astounding.
Definitely pick up this guy's albums and do a little homework on him some time. He's definitely worth the listen and the investment of your time. :)