(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
Before I start this review I must admit that I’ve never been much of a fan of Jaco Pastorius. I appreciate the fact that he was a tremendously talented musician. I just never cared much for his playing. Having said that, I really like this album done as a tribute to him. This is not a tribute to the playing of Jaco as much as it is a tribute to his compositional skills. I was never aware that the man could compose stuff that was this deep. I had fallen in love with this music from the moment I first heard it on the Gagliarchives radio show. Thanks again Tom for turning me on to something very cool!
While I was not really that familiar with the music on this disc, I was also not familiar with almost all of the musicians. I had heard some of the names before like Hiram Bullock and John Patitucci but the bulk of people that contribute here are new to me. I suppose if I were more of a jazz fan, I would instantly recognize names like Michael Gerber, Othello Molineaux, Gil Goldstein and Zebra Coast. Fortunately for me, not knowing these cats is not an obstacle to enjoying this disc. Many who have made contributions to this disc have worked with Jaco before and are very proud of this tribute.
One of the things I like most about this disc is the diversity; many different musical styles are represented here. The disc opens up with “Three Views of a Secret” which starts out with a nice acapella chorus before going into a gorgeous electric/acoustic guitar duet from Hiram Bullock and Bireli Lagrene. “Las Olas” is a nice mellow lounge piece with some breezy guitar and piano. “Havona” is a much more upbeat fusion track with some really interesting steel drum contributions. The tune “Continuum” is very light and almost new age to a degree but the melody and arrangement are excellent.
Next on the album is the song “I Can Dig It Baby” which isn’t a Jaco composition but it was the first song on which he was recorded as a session musician, from the 1974 album Party Down by a guitarist known as Little Beaver. This new rendition of the track features Jaco’s son Felix on the bass. Although this is a really poppy track with Latin flavorings, it’s probably the piece that stands out the most on this compilation.
“Dania” is a more traditional jazz trio tune with Michael Gerber laying down some fantastic piano work. From here we go to something completely different. “Punk Jazz” was one of the few tunes here that I had heard already by Jaco but never quite like this. Gil Goldstein’s arrangement of this one, for several accordions, is the most amazing and unusual track on this disc. I really like that one of the accordions has a good bit of distortion on it, making it sound like a guitar. The Weather Report compostion “Teen Town” is another one I was familiar with and this one is much more similar to the original.
The tune “Microcosm” is a very strong piano/acoustic bass/drums presentation from Alex Darqui, John Patitucci and Rich Franks. This is some very nice stuff. Gil Goldstein appears again with the combo Zebra Coast on “Good Morning Anya”, a nice smooth track featuring Jorge Pardo on tenor sax. The album ends with the Trio Fattoruso performing the title track of this album, a composition dedicated to the late bass player. This is another trio piece with some nice electronic keyboards and, of course, some great bass playing.
Overall, this one is simply a wonderful tribute album. Kudos to Moonjune records for putting out yet another amazing disc. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of Jaco Pastorius, you might want to give this one a spin. It’s a rather cool and certainly very diverse set of music.