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Jaco & Joni


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transcription by Lucas Pickford

The uniting of Joni Mitchell and Jaco Pastorius was truly a wonderful moment in modern music. Jaco recorded with Joni when he was at the height of his powers in 1976. It was a banner year for Jaco having recorded with Weather Report on their Black Market record as well as having released his milestone debut album. Joni recorded her album Hejira in the summer of 1976, with many of the same musicians she'd used since 1973, but the sound she wanted this time was more subdued and moody.  When she'd completed recording the 9 tracks that comprise the Hejira album, a friend told her about a bass player she should hear who was creating a stir with his unusual playing style. Joni met Jaco Pastorious and immediately connected with the way he played his bass. Joni had been trying for years to find a certain sound on the bottom end of the bass, and Jaco's playing was a dream come true for her music. She overdubbed his bass parts on 4 of the songs on Hejira, and the album was readied for release in late November. Joni said, “Jaco was doing something I was dreaming of at the time that I came to work with him. I kept asking bass players to do certain things and they'd say ‘the bass doesn't do that.’ Then I'd say ‘why not?’ And they'd say ‘because it doesn't!’ Jaco is one of those exceptional musicians, even if what he did seemed crazy, you would join in and go along with it - just to see what would happen. Indeed it was only this way of his that made the ’Mingus’ album possible."

This tune, God Must Be A Boogie Man, is from the CD called Mingus. It’s a great example of how Jaco would play bass, harmonics, melodies, solos all while supporting Joni’s voice and her sometime tricky, out of time, guitar comping. Although the Mingus album was panned by many reviewers, I feel it’s a must have for any serious Jaco fans out there. Jaco the accompanist is a side of Jaco we should all pay closer attention to. Enjoy.




Lucas Pickford's new CD, Blown Fuse, is now available from his site.

You can also read the review of Blown Fuse.

  Lucas Pickford can be reached via e-mail at PicksProductions AT yahoo DOT com 
and at his web site







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