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Half an anthology just isn't enough

Punk Jazz: The Jaco Pastorius Anthology
Punk Jazz: The Jaco Pastorius Anthology
By Jaco Pastorius

Rhino / Warner Bros.: 2003

Buy it on CD now from Amazon.com
Buy it now


This review first appeared in the May 28, 2003 issue of Fahrenheit San Diego.

Dying young and tragically (beaten to death by a bouncer at age 35) allowed Jaco Pastorius to be elevated to jazz godhood. But if he's largely forgotten today by all but the hardest jazzsters, his once-revolutionary approach to the electric bass shouldn't be forgotten – he and Stanley Clarke created the modern electric bass sound in the '70s.

A new two-disc set from Rhino holds out the promise of illuminating his contributions to jazz, rock and everything that's followed – but falls short.

The problem? Lawyers.

See, some, maybe most, of Jaco's heaviest playing was with the Weather Report combo in the late '70s – and only one track from those efforts is included here (the huge hit "Birdland"). Weather Report was on Columbia/Sony; Rhino is owned by Warner Bros.

His work with Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny and Flora Purim is all nice, his solo work interesting but uneven – but without the Weather Report stuff, this collection is only half an anthology. Wait for a box set on Weather Report if you want to hear Jaco at his twisted genius best.