“Jaco” is predominantly presented with old and recent interviews via the eyes of his family and his world-class musical collaborators, plus there are several vintage video segments of Jaco Pastorius himself. Produced by Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak the documentary contains video and still photography from the Pastorius family archives, plus interviews with an array of musicians and friends. This DVD “Jaco”’ unveils the story of his music, his personal life, and his death.
Disc one: The full length film with Dolby 5.1 surround sound design – clocks in at just short of two hours. “Jaco” is comprised of interviews with Pastorius’ musical contemporaries and admirers including: Sting, Joni Mitchell, Flea, Jerry Jemmott, Bootsy Collins, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Bobby Colomby, Geddy Lee and many others with never-before-seen photos and film. This interesting movie discloses the story behind Jaco’s life, his music as a solo artist, and as a sideman. Spending a majority of space from when he was a member of the popular Weather Report group. It was Weather Report that launched his brief career, the later-day interviews with band-members Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and Peter Erskine are insightful and at times powerful. Abundant tidbits are uncovered during a real-time interview of Jerry Jemmott interviewing Pastorius from the eighties, how BS&T’s Bobby Colomby helped a twenty-one year old Jaco obtain his first recording contract and how Colomby facilitated his move to NYC. South Florida stories with members of Wayne Cochran’s band from when Pastorius held the bass chair, and discussions of when Jaco performed in Joni Mitchell’s “Shadows and Light” tour in her super-band that also included Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Michael Brecker, and Don Alias. The parade of interviews continues as the film makes it way to Pastorius’ drug inflicted downfall that led to his hospitalization in NYC for bi-polar disorder. It wasn’t long after his infirmary release that he found his way back to South Florida and soon after his eventual death that some say was a murder by a bouncer at a Santana concert, a show that Jaco tried to crash.
Disc two: (One hundred minutes) Features DVD Extras – Outtakes, Anecdotes, and Stories. At best this disc will probably be a one-time or twice viewed disc. Even though there are about twenty-five interviews with musical luminaries like: Flea, Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana, Mike Stern, his son Greg Pastorius and more.
Producer Trujillo deserves compliments for the body of work he accumulated and assembled. It’s especially interesting considering that Trujillo’s the bassist for the heavy metal band Metallica that resembles little of no comparisons to Jaco’s music. Nonetheless – bass lovers will love watching the self-described “greatest bass-player” Pastorius. Admirers of Jaco will adore the stories and the brief performances that makeup this informative documentary that was a long time coming and overdue.
Note: About two weeks prior to Pastorius’ demise I was at a small club in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Jaco was at the bar watching a local bar-band playing the blues. He was loaded to the gills on God knows what elixirs, yet he was coaxed to jam and play bass with the band. It was a sad experience. But when I read about his passing I wasn’t surprised to read about his death, and couldn’t help to suspect that (perhaps) he was in a better place. Additionally I had hoped that there might be video excerpts from the Jaco tribute benefit show at the now defunct Lonestar Roadhouse in NYC. It was a very special night highlighted by a tearful Pat Metheny who concluded his set with an amazing slow blues tune for his friend Jaco.
For 17 years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show (Wed. & Fri. 9am-1pm) www.SoundsofBlue.com – http://wfdu.fm Previously a contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune www.YonkersTribune.com & www.MakingAScene.org Bob was also the 2003 recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive” award (given by the Blues Foundation in Memphis) for his achievements in radio broadcasting. Putignano can be contacted at: BobP@SoundsofBlue.com