The Significance of Jaco Pastorius

Jaco Pastorius revolutionized the role of the Bass Guitar in music, giving it the capacity to be a lead instrument via many bass techniques such as harmonics, Bass chords, double-stopping, and by playing melodies written for other instruments.

Jaco Pastorius was a Jazz-fusion bassist who is most well known for playing with the Band Weather Report. A virtuosic Bassist from a family of Musicians, he is known for songs such as Birdland, Teen Town, and a Bass cover of the Beatles classic – Blackbird.

He was inducted into the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988 posthumously and is the only electric bassist to have achieved this feat.

He lived from 1951 -1987 and suffered from bi-polar disorder which some attribute his creativity to.

Jaco revolutionized the Bass guitars role via many different aspects of his playing.

The extensive use of both natural and artificial harmonics is evident in songs such as Birdland and a Portrait of Tracy. The high range of the Harmonics are a hallmarks of Jacos’ style and make a lot of his runs and lines quite cantabile.

Jaco and Weather Report can be attributed to bringing jazz-fusion to somewhat of a mainstream audience, with Jaco playing a major role in the attraction that was Weather Report.

Jaco was able to revolutionize the Bass by drawing upon his musical abilities as a Drummer and pianist. His ability to play lines intended for other instruments of his Jazz Bass brought some flavor and to what is often     considered a boring and monotonous instrument.

An inventive musician, Jaco took the frets off his Bass Guitar and this contributed to his distinctive sound, often referred to as the Jaco Growl, where he would pluck the strings close to the bridge off his Bass. Jaco referred to frets as “speed bumps” and therefore favored not using them.

Jaco utilized technology to revolutionize his Bass playing. The extensive use of the Chorus effect would give his Bass solos a rich and layered sound.

He uses the...