Jaco Pastorius: Continuum
Jaco Pastorius (electric bass)
Jaco Pastorius (Epic EK 33949)
Alex Darqui (keyboards), Don Alias (bells).
Composed by Jaco Pastorius.
Recorded: New York, 1976
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
This was Jaco Pastorius's first record as leader. His phenomenal talent was already well known inside the fusion community, and he attracted the genre's top musicians for this recording. Soon, however, he would become a mega fusion star himself because of his new membership in the jazz-rock supergroup Weather Report.
"Continuum" is a showcase for Jaco's composing and articulation. He had been playing the melody, or a variation of it, since he was a teenager. Hancock, White, Darqui and Alias supply a sparing textured background for Jaco's simple, tender ballad, which the composer plays straight from the heart. The technique he used, and the fretless bass on which he used it, allowed him to show the bass could be a powerful lead melodic voice. His use of harmonics, on display often during "Continuum," was also quite revolutionary and has influenced scores of great bass players. Pastorius performances like this helped change the bass vocabulary forever.
Another impressive version of "Continuum" appears on the Trio of Doom live CD, which features Pastorius, John McLaughlin and Tony Williams.
To learn more about Jaco's art and life, I highly recommend Bill Milkowski's book The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky