Reviewing Jaco Patstorious’ debut album has been one of my most challenging reviews to date. For those of you who are unaware, Jaco is considered to be one of the greatest bassists to ever grace the earth. His solo work, and his brief stints with Weather Report and Pat Metheny have made him a jazz icon. Personally I’ve loved Jaco since I first heard him with Weather Report. Only a handful of bassist are in his class and one could argue on electric bass, he stands alone. Despite loving Jaco’s work on Weather Report I’ve never listened to his debut album until this review, and to my surprise my initial response was not a positive one.
I found the album to be underwhelming. Is this a fusion album? What’s with the random soul track? This nonchalantness I felt for this album was awkward. I’m suppose to love this. It’s a jazz classic. What wrong with me? Can I really not like this? As I do with all my reviews I took my time and continued to listen to this album. After multiple listens my opinion on this album has continued to develop and I no longer feel underwhelmed by this recording.
THINGS I LIKED
“Continuum” and “Portraits of Tracy” are a couple of my favorite tunes on this record. These tunes are some of the most emotional and beautiful compositions I’ve ever heard. I also love “(Used To Be A) Cha-Cha” and “Forgotten Love”. On “Forgotten Love” Herbie Hancock really takes center stage and shines. Jaco really shows his humility here be giving Herbie a couple of tunes to be essentially be the front man.
Things I didn’t like
I still don’t feel like the album is well balanced. The early tracks are a bit too different for my taste. The album begins with Donna Lee, then a soul track, followed by a more jazz fusion based tune. By track 4 I think the album finds its stride and flows well. Individually every track is brilliant, but as a holistic album,the beginning starts off a bit too random for my taste.
Overall I enjoyed listening to this album and I enjoyed going through the process of better understanding the music I was listening to. This is an absolute must own album along with all other projects Jaco was a part of (except for things released after his death, a lot of those releases were just money grabs). I still feel the beginning of the album is a bit too sporadic for my tastes. It was almost as if Jaco wanted to show all the styles he was into at the time. As if he wasn’t sure if he’d have another opportunity to be fully in control of a major album release. Unfortunately for us Jaco is no longer alive. He battled with physical and mental health issues throughout his life and it ultimately caused him to have a shortened life. Still, despite the brief time he was with us, Jaco’s work has influenced all of us. He changed how how we viewed the bass, we viewed fusion, and how we viewed music itself.