When you listen to Continuum, a song off Jaco Pastorius’ solo debut album that came out in 1976, the electric bass he plays on it sounds like it is singing. As if it is not just a musical instrument but a voice.
On the same track Herbie Hancock plays the electric piano, Lenny White is on drums and Alex Darqui is on piano. All of them are great jazz musicians, accomplished and acclaimed, but Pastorius, then 25, stands spectacularly apart with his lyrical bass lines and instantly discernible talent. Pastorius lived for just 11 more years after that solo album came out, dying tragically after a violent brawl with a bouncer outside a Florida bar but his influence on generations of bassists – in jazz, fusion and even rock – has been profound.
Three decades after his untimely death, another famous bassist, hard rocking Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, has unveiled a documentary, Jaco, that he has produced on the life of the legendary bassist. The film, released commercially only recently, features musicians such as jazz greats like Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, funk’s Bootsy Collins, rock’s Carlos Santana and Flea, and singers Joni Mitchell and Sting who talk about the bassist, his life and his work