Very difficult to be a bassist and not have an opinion on the late Jaco Pastorius. I recently stumbled across a classic interview from 1978 on the website dedicated to Jaco: “a portrait“. A few choice quotes:
- Jaco: “I did all my learning in the clubs. Playing eight sets a night. It was real killer stuff; going in at 9pm and leaving at 6:30 in the morning without days off.”
- Jaco on Weather Report: “this is the first notoriety with a jazz band, or whatever you call this kind of music. I wasn’t going to come out with anybody playing records until I did something on my own. I made my solo record (Jaco Pastorius) and then I decided I’d come out and work.”
- Jaco on his basses: “I have a ’62 fretless bass and the one with frets is a ’60. I took out the frets myself and refinished it. I have a few other basses for practicing and stuff… …My fretted bass that I play on stage has three pots in it; one for each pick-up and then a tone control. But it’s one of those basses that had procentric knobs. Really old Fender Jazz basses had just two knobs and outside of each knob was a tone control.”
- Jaco on his amp: “I use an old Acoustic 360. One of them is the very first one I bought just about ten years ago. I use two bottoms, both stock.”
- Jaco on his stage sound: “I turn the bass on the amp all the way up because I only use the back pick-up on the bass. I never use the bass pick-up on the front so I have to compensate quite a bit with the amp. I have a sound that’s like an R&B-type sound which is real punchy and hits.”
- Jaco on right hand technique: “I use my first two fingers to pick and I use the other two fingers to mute as well as my thumb if I’m jumping around.”
The interview is well worth a read. If you have a hunt around on YouTube you are sure to find some video of him playing. Truly a legend.
Some people things that bass solos should be outlawed , but some have a different idea. Bass Soloists, like Steve Lawson and Michael Manring, have championed the cause here in the UK, and in the US. The bass solo as an art in the track, still hasn’t really re-emerged. It can be great when well, done, so get studying with some cool articles over at active musician.
For the majority of the world that haven’t been to a Bass Day, here’s the reason to go (and a fix of Bass for the end of a Friday):