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Did Jaco Pastorius REALLY inspire all these people?


TShakazBlackRoots

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I'm gonna be honest with you bredren and sistren. Before I joined this forum, I'd never even heard of Jaco, even though I've been a music fanatic for more than 20 years, as an artist, music fan and bass enthusiast. :o

Vic Wooten, I'd never heard of too. Oh yes, shame on me I agree.

 

I've recently been reading interviews by bassists in mags and on this forum, and these names keep popping up everytime, as the inspiration to all bassists.

My question is, did Jaco and Wooten really inspire all these bassists (especially the younger generation), or are they just jumping on the band wagon...name calling?

 

For example, you hear vocalists say, 'oh, I was influenced by Billie Holiday, Ella, Sarah Vaughan....', then you wonder if these 'name callers' actually own even a single record of these legends they say inspired them, or genuinely know anything about them.

What do you think? :)

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I think that's an awfully suspicious thing to say. Why would you doubt them? Why would they lie?

 

I think it's demonstrable that both Wooten and Pastorious had quite the influence on bass guitar. I had never heard of Jaco until I picked up the bass. Wooten I only knew of as "that guy with the Flecktones."

 

But when I started playing, I was introduced to them. I learned a few things. In other words, I was influenced.

 

Is it so hard to believe that other people went through the same process?

 

Sorry, TSBR. This seems like another "bait" topic to me.

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no, i think this is a really valid point.

 

i'm 30 and i have to admit jaco is slightly before my time. of course i'd heard him, of course i think he's great. can i consider him an inspiration? not directly, no.

 

jaco was a huge inspiration to bassists and a lot of those bassists have turned around and inspired others.

 

wether or not people are name-dropping guys like jaco on their list of inspriations no one can say. i don't see any real reason to doubt anyone. but there is a point to assuming that there are in fact some people that drop a name or two because they think it makes them sound smarter. i've certainly run across it with other musicians.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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i guess there are two indicators of influence - one is the people that are listed as influences and the other is the number of people who actually sound like their influences...

 

With Jaco, there was certainly a time in the early 80s when there were loads and loads of fretless players in Fusion copping his stuff. Very few were successful. The successful ones were influenced but added their own thang to it as well - Willis, Haslip, Caron etc...

 

With Vic, I've heard a few bass-headz who pull of some of his style, but it certainly hasn't hit the mainstream in the way that Jaco did for a while...

 

It's often the second generation that are more influential in passing on a particular sound - I'd argue that Pino has directly influenced more players around today with his fretless stuff from the 80s, and he had a different spin on it to Jaco, though is always very quick to acknowledge his debt to Jaco...

 

Vic's thing is kinda specific to funk-fusion - it'd be tricky to do a lot of his licks in a 'normal' band, and there were certainly a lot of slap players around before him.

 

Having said that, I don't think I've read many interviews with people siting him as an influence - a lot of people site him as a favourite player, but that's not the same as an influence...

 

As for whether people make up their influences, I'm sure we all go through some revisionism in listing our influences further down the line, and in magazines, it would seem that a few names get trotted out time and time again - some because they genuinely changed the way people think about bass, and others because they're cool...

 

FWIW, the one album that every black american bassist that I ever interviewed for Bassist Magazine mentioned as a pivotal album for them was Donny Hathaway Live, which suggests that Willie Weeks is a much bigger influence on contemporary music than he's often given credit for...

 

cheers

 

Steve

www.stevelawson.net

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I think its not name calling but true inspiration that bassists get from such top class players.

Alot of the bass players i am around do have elements that you see or hear in their playing that are very much like Wooton or Jaco.

But i found something a little more different in the way bassists have taken up their art.

Alot will say Jaco and Sting(yeah confusing!) then some will say Wooton and Prestia.

Theres always a different combination because each individual has different ways of picking up the batton.

I for one like Francis 'Rocco' Prestia (Tower of Power) only because hes one of those players as a finger style bassist, with flair and total skill and he bloody well makes it sound and look so easy but his technic is spot on everytime.

 

>but there is a point to assuming that there are in fact some people that drop a name or two because they think it makes them sound smarter. i've certainly run across it with other musicians.

 

I certainly have to agree here.

I think alot haven't even owned a peice of music by the mentioned guys.

Even asked a bassist once who claimed to have said Jaco was where he learned what he thought of some of rarer to find Weather Report stuff and the answer was, who??

The other thing that gets to me is when bassists have tryed so bloody hard to copy great bassists and all they can do is play nothing other than play like the people they have watched time and time again...that really gets to me cause theres no individuality to their playing and all they can do is play the same stuff over and over again.

Whats the point of learning to play but being a clone of someone else?

Oh and let me add i don't play bass but watch others make outstanding musci but sure can appreciate what people put into their playing and think theres definatly some talent out there.

 

Hello Steve Lawson...i haven't seen you around for ages my friend. :wave:

I think you know who I am right?

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Having said that, I don't think I've read many interviews with people siting him as an influence - a lot of people site him as a favourite player, but that's not the same as an influence...
Too true Steve. :thu: Favourite player and influence are different words come to think of it. What I meant, for example, I am influenced TOTALLY, by Family Man, Flabba and Robbie Shakespeare, and I have tons of records by them. I love Miller, Bootsy etc..., but I don't have records by them. :o

 

Yet, growing up, Funk played a big part in making me love the bass guitar, even more than Reggae at first. So, who's my influence? The guys who's records I own in plenty or the guys that planted the first 'bass seed'? :)

 

I'm not being cynical, I just wonder when everyone keeps dropping the same names. If it's true, then great. These guys are huge influences. But it's true that some of us name drop just to 'fit in' with most of you who've live the experience. :)

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I think one of the main reasons Jaco has influenced so many people is that he played "lead bass" so well.

 

Jaco's bass playing maintained a groove, drove the music, but also leapt out as a separate melodic line.

 

Other bassists had approached the bass in this way...Paul McCartney certainly played melodic fills in a way that James Jamerson never did. But Jaco's melodies are unmistakable.

 

His other influences are most certainly the tight tone he got by playing close to the bridge and the use of a fretless bass, which had been around a while but had not made any headway.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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TSBR:

I've recently been reading interviews by bassists in mags and on this forum, and these names keep popping up everytime, as the inspiration to all bassists.

My question is, did Jaco and Wooten really inspire all these bassists (especially the younger generation), or are they just jumping on the band wagon...name calling?

If Jaco made half the impression on their lives as he did in mine, then no, they are not just name dropping. To say Jaco inspired me is an understatement and I don't sound anything like Jaco. I have nothing but love for Victor, he is an amazing player who gets better every friggin' year, but he hasn't made me want to change the way I think.

 

I suspect that there may be some name dropping, even bass players aren't immune from wanting to be in "the in crowd", but my admiration and debt to Jaco is genuine.

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Thank goodness I have a musically intelligent uncle - when he loaned me my first bass and gave me my first lesson all these names popped out...Jaco, James Jamerson, Jerry Jemmott, ( a lot of J's here huh?)Wooten, McCartney. And he really stressed the tapping of the foot and the singing part.

But honestly its been almost 15 years since and I never actually listened to any of those guys until recently ( well, McCartney you can't help but hear if you have a working FM radio.)

I was too involved in my heavy metal to care about some jazz / funk / fusion players. Whenever I listened to that stuff I thought it was all a mess, I just didn't get it. Now, with a more mature ear, I can hear whats goin on and I have indeed been influenced.

BTW Marcus Miller is coming to town, BB King's Blues Club in NYC June 21 & 22...I will be there.

Later! :wave:

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath

 

Band site: www.finespunmusic.com

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Yes. From what I've heard from those on the scene at the time, it was like a revolution.

 

I personally don't get much from listening to his material these days, but a lot of things I do are copped from him, sometimes indirectly (copped from some other cat that copped him).

 

Do a search and see if you can dig up the old thread where Jeremy was REALLY concise on the effect of Jaco on his playing. Insightful.

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At first you thought you could play bass? Well, join my HUGE club. Before I joined this forum, I thought I knew.....well, I did't. Still don't. :mad:

There's so much to learn. Truth is, I'm comfortable with most Reggae basslines, if not all, even after just 16 months of bass playing.

 

When it comes to that Wooten, Jaco and Miller business, I regret ever handling a bass! :o

When I hear some of these guys, honestly, I say to myself, no matter how long I practise, I'll never play like that. Do you ever feel those vibes? :confused:

 

PS: If you ever hear or read that I said Jaco is my influence, 'shoot' me coz it'll be name dropping.

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the way i heard bass changed my life a few times, and you are REALLY going to think I am name dropping!!

I arrived in Miami from Cuba in 1968. My father was the premier trombonist in Cuba so i was exposed to music all my life. I remember flipping thru some records ( yes, vinyl!) at a store when i saw an album by a group called Blood , Sweat and Tears

( I still have the album) and i knew i loved their song that was playing on the radio called " Spinning Wheel" so i bought the record ( actually, Dad did) and went home and discovered my first bass influence, his name is Jim Fielder and he was my first bass hero. He is now my friend and i just saw him play last week since he comes to Vegas 4 times a year with Neil Sedaka. Wonderful player and person. His playing was eye opener number one...

then one day, again, my father walked in the house with a record that said Chick Corea and Return to Forever "Light as a Feather".

Again, my mind was blown by an upright bassist named Stanley Clarke... that was awakening number too...

THEN, livivng in south Florida.. i began to hear about this hot shot bassist...and before i got a chance to look into him, i saw and bought a record called Jaco Pastorius.. i remember droppng the needle on it and checking to see if the turntable speed was correct because my mind could not conceive what i was hearing ( it was Donna Lee, the first track ) - it absolutely changed my life..it made me aware what could be done on a bass...

later, as i started to play in the area more and more, i had a chance to meet the man... he was quite a character, he was still in his prime.. my claim to fame is when he came in and grabbed my bass out of my hands and proceeded into one of his maniacal performances at a gig i was on... it seemed at the time everyone idolized him and many were trying to sound like him- i know of at least one FANTASTIC player that basically lost his identity trying to be another Jaco down to the wardrobe...

if you look at the players that were around during Jacos time..

rock , jazz or whatever, you will be hard pressed to find one that was serious about bass and wasnt at the very least VERY AWARE of Jacos existence...

yes, he literally changed my life.... he was very difficult to like towards the end...he did many obnoxious things- but the day he died, i wept, and at my gig , i grabbed a microphone ( which i never come near ) and proclaimed that i would dedicate the evening to the memory of the greatest bass player the world has ever known -- to this day, that first Jaco album has yet to be surpassed in my mind and soul... and if there is a more lyrical bassist out there , i have not heard him or her- if you have not heard it ( the first album), stop what you are doing right now, and go get it... lock yourself up where you will not be disturbed.. and get ready for a revelation.

Praise ye the LORD.

....praise him with stringed instruments and organs...

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

excerpt from- Psalm 150

visit me at:

www.adriangarcia.net

for His glory

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Well..... I thought long and hard about posting a reply to this post, as I figured many of you would think I'm full of crap..... but after reading Adrian's post, it gave me the guts to write this...If you choose not to believe it ...oh well.... I know its true.

 

Jaco was a major influence on my bass playing, but not like most people who heard him after his carrer took off. I first met him when I was playing in a local band at the Wreck Bar at the Castaways Hotel on Miami Beach. He was playing bass for a small time show band called "Tommy Strand and the Upper Hand." This was in the fall of '72. I had heard about Jaco, having lived in Miami all my life, and being in the music scene there, but our paths had never crossed. I had never heard him play. That night his playing blew me away. I never saw anyone play a bass like that. The precision and expression was like nothing I'd ever seen.

 

When their set was done, I went to see him, while the third band was playing. The rest of the band was hanging out smoking and bs'ing... Jaco was in the dressing room practicing his Simandl book. I just sat and watched, as he executed page after page flawlessly. I'll never forget what he said to me, as he got up to do the second show....

"You play pretty good man, but you need to throw away that pick and and start practicing with your fingers." For the next two weeks, until their gig ended, I sat in that dressing room every night and he taught me how to play....

 

I cried when he died...

 

I'll forever be grateful to him for taking the time to help me become a better basssist.

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i used to sneak into the Castaways and the Inner Circle to watch bands play! I am surprised we never met- but then again i graduated from high school in 76 - did you ever know John Goodwin?

Praise ye the LORD.

....praise him with stringed instruments and organs...

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

excerpt from- Psalm 150

visit me at:

www.adriangarcia.net

for His glory

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Jaco changed my world. I'd only been playing bass for about a year or so and was just really getting into playing in jazz groups as a bassist; before that it was as a trumpet player. When I bought the Jaco Pastorius album, my jaw hit the floor and I realized how incredibly far I had to go to be a Player. His lead bass playing, his incredible groove, tasty lines, and (at times) sheer reckless abandon in which he approached bass and music in general has inspired me to this day and continues to do so.

 

I don't consider myself a Jaco clone, or a Jaco wanna-be, or whatever. I just find an incredible wealth of information to be learned from his playing and approach to music that will continue to inspire me for (most likely) the rest of my life.

 

"Barbary Coast" is a text book in and of itself. That groove is so undeniably huge that you'd have to be dead to not appreciate it; and even then you'd be hard pressed.

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I can remember hearing his first album and being in shock. At the time I thought I knew how to play the bass and suddenly I realized that there were many many levels above me, more levels than we dreamed were possible.

 

People have got to remember that when Jaco came out it was just as revolutionary as Charlie Parker in the 40s. When I heard his solo album I couldn't even imagine playing Donna Lee, I couldn't understand it. When I first heard him on Joni Mitchell's Hejira album I didn't know it was the bass playing all those fills, I thought it was some kind of synth.

 

I probably saw Jaco live more than any other act. I was about 14 when he joined Weather Report and saw him every chance I could. At first not too many people knew who he was and by the early 80s everyone did.

 

He obviously influenced me just because I saw him so much, but there were SO MANY GUYS trying to sound like him that I just had to go another route (also, I couldn't play as fast or clean as he). I started playing with both pus on my jazz bass and tried to get a darker, rounder sound. I particularly remember one top 40 bandleader complaining about the guy I was replacing, (who was excellent and a Jaco fanatic) having a sound like a "tin can" (too much bridge pickup and too many mids in his sound). After a while the pendulum started swinging the other way in terms of sound, playing style etc but I wouldn't doubt people who mention JACO among their influences.

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Originally posted by TShakazBlackRoots:

...did Jaco...really inspire all these bassists (especially the younger generation), or are they just jumping on the band wagon...name calling?

I really don't think it's name dropping, the guy was just THAT good. I started playing 10 years after Jaco's sad death and he's still my biggest influence, though it's only obvious in my infrequent fretless playing. His timing, tone, articulation, phrasing, attitude (musically), groove, ideas, technique, etc etc, are all just so near perfect that however much I study them, there is always more to learn.

 

I've spent far more time working on Jaco's lines than anyone elses - there is a whole world of groove and technique education to be found in them. I haven't really gone into his soloing, it's the incredible way he wrapped lyricism, melodic statements, crazy fills, chords and harmony into basslines which still lay down the groove harder than almost anyone and mesh with the surrounding music flawlessly, that's been most essential to my playing.

 

He liberated the bass whilst remaining true to its original function, which is not dissimilar to the alternative twist that reggae bassists brought to 'traditional' bass playing. Or to put it another way, he expressed himself whilst still supporting the composition as a bassist should. Isn't that what it's all about?

 

Before you decry Jaco's huge influence on so many of us (is it cool to name-drop a 70s fusion player anyway?) and state that he'll never influence your playing, I suggest you buy his eponymous solo album, Weather Report - Heavy Weather and Joni Mitchell - Shadows & Light, and listen and listen and listen.

 

Alex

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Interesting thread. Initially, I was very skeptical about this thread and what might come of it (was expecting some flame to be honest), but the replies are great!

 

Jaco's performance on the first Pat Metheny recording is great! This recording came out roughly around the time of the Joni Mitchell "Hejira" and clearly showcases Jaco's talent and diversity.

 

Even today, 30 years later, both recordings sound fresh and exciting IMHO.

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

--------

My Professional Websites

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I'm so happy I started this thread. I had no idea how 'huge' Jaco is in all your lives. I still don't know what the 'fuss' is about coz I don't own or know any of his stuff. :o

But you bet, I'm gonna dig it out soon as, so I too can get a life changing experience basswise.

 

Thank you for you insights of the man. :thu:

For those of you who even got lessons from him, well, what can I say.... that's a dream that rarely comes true for many of us. :)

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I can even remember the exact moment when I first heard Jaco. It was in a friend's basement rec room. His older brother was playing a Fender fretless jazz bass along to Jaco on the turntable, as he tried to master some of Jaco's riffs. Prior to that moment I had no interest in jazz or bass. Or at least in playing bass. Being introduced to Jaco's music changed all that for me in one second.

 

I like Vic Wooten because he seems to have taken what one of my other bass heros did, to another level. To me Vic is like the natural musical evolution, or progression, of Stanley Clarke and what he was doing twenty years ago.

 

But back to Jaco for a minute...

 

Try this experiment...

 

Pick up a copy of Jaco's first, and self-titled CD, and try to listen to it with a 'reverse engineering' approach.

 

What I mean is...

 

See just how much of other artists and bassists you can hear in that album. To me it's the real proof of just how much Jaco really did influence all those great players whom came after him.

 

It's a landmark recording that all bassist should probabaly have in their collection, anyhow. So just do it. You'll like it, I'm sure.

 

:thu:

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Maybe I'm just weird, but I remember Stanley Clarke the end all of all bassist at the time and Jaco kinda emerged later. I'm not debating the merits of their playing, just who was the major influence on bassists AT THE TIME (yes, I am very old :D ).

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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What Jaco did really surpasses the word "influence". Jaco, almost exculsively, opened the doors for all bassits who came later. It was Jaco who broke down the preconcieved notions of what a bass is, what the role of the bass is or what the potential of bass could be.

 

Whether or not you like his work, feel that it is dated, ect, you must acknowledge that Jaco pretty much led the way for all of us

 

Mike Dimin

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Originally posted by forceman:

Different styles IMO. Stanley in that seminal band Return to Forever, not to mention his own School Days recording (which I listen to on Vinyl this past weekend) are very influential to many bassist--past and current, IMO.

I think he was the first to tour as a known bassist in the lead position w/o a known band in the modern era. I saw him on one of his first tours in a 5 thousand seat arena.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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