Weather Report was a Jazz Fusion supergroup helmed by keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, both alumni of various Miles Davis groups including his first electric band. For the majority of Weather Report’s existence those two helmed the band but the side line up changed a few times and it was with Weather Report that bass player Jaco Pastorius began to make his mark. His debut album for the band was on the underrated album Black Market on which he featured on three of the tracks including his open composition “Barbary Coast” which utilises his bass as a front line instrument guides the melody as it goes along. This was a forecast of what was to come with Jaco, on the album Heavy Weather which is considered by many to be the band’s best album, the track “Teen Town” is a further example of this. Through out Heavy Weather Jaco’s electric bass is used more and more as a frontline instrument and begins to change how the bass was used to a jazz ensemble. Other pioneers of the electric bass include Alphonso Johnson whom Jaco replaced in Weather Report and Stanley Clarke who had great success with the album “School Days”.
However Jaco Pastorius’ subsequent career was a troubled one with clashes with Zawinul over his use of synthetic bass lines on the album Mr Gone, record label executives over the direction of his solo albums, and the onset of bi-polar disorder aggravated by alcohol and substance abuse. However despite all of this, Jaco’s music remains as exciting and ground breaking as it ever was.
If you want to discover more about Jaco and Weather Report I suggest a good trawl on You Tube for the music and Google for the behind the scenes information.
Ragtime Daily Prompt: Forecast