Jaco Pastorius: Kuru / Speak Like A Child


Kuru / Speak Like A Child


Jaco Pastorius (electric bass)


Jaco Pastorius (Epic EK 33949)

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Jaco Pastorius (electric bass), Herbie Hancock (piano),

Don Alias (percussion), Bobby Economou (drums), strings arranged by Jaco Pastorius and conducted by Michael Gibbs


Composed by Jaco Pastorius / Herbie Hancock


Recorded: New York, 1976


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Jaco Pastorius was lucky enough to lure Herbie Hancock into performing on several cuts on Jaco's debut album as leader. Both players were steeped in the fusion movement at the time, but took the opportunity to showcase their prodigious straight-ahead jazz chops on this medley of "Kuru / Speak Like a Child." Pastorius wrote "Kuru," which slides into the Hancock-penned "Speak Like a Child" that came from Herbie's Blue Note album of the same name.

The performance actually starts out sounding like fusion Mahavishnu because it opens with a riffing string section. But Pastorius's circular bassline is the hook. It sounds like it is comprised of 3 or 4 notes, but it may be 10. It is played so fast you can't count. Once Jaco gets the groove going, Herbie has the impetus to do some real flying. The pianist has it all going on. Rapid-fire runs are followed by gentle chord passages. The man feels the music as much as he plays it. The rhythm section, which also includes the great percussionist Don Alias, continues to push the tune forward until it meets the strings once again.

Jaco took a back seat to his guest Hancock on this cut. Don't get me wrong; he was still an outstanding contributor. But sometimes the pure bassist in Jaco is forgotten in favor of the fiery innovator. Jaco's skills were just as much in evidence on a piece like this as on any of his solos filled with technical fireworks. Make no mistake about it. Pastorius still would have been a highly respected musician even if he had just fulfilled the role of the traditional bass player. He was great at that, too.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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