Contemporary Jazz

Electric Bass Innovator

17 NOV 08 JONATHAN WIDRAN

Christian McBride once called Jaco Pastorius "the Charlie Parker of the electric bass." His album The Word Is Out!, co-produced and conducted by Peter Graves, features bass monsters who owe much of their inspiration to Jaco -- Victor Wooten, Gerald Veasley, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip and Jeff Carswell, as well as Israel "Cachao" López, Jr., Mark Egan, Oteil Burbridge and Will Lee.

From the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s, Jaco was credited with single-handedly obliterating the boundaries of the electric bass and redefining its potential across all idioms of music. On 2003's award-winning and critically acclaimed Word of Mouth Revisited, the first celebration of his unique legacy by the Jaco Pastorius Big Band, jazz fusion bass freaks and fans of the Weather Report innovator first got the message that his richly textured compositions were ripe for spirited big-band arrangements on.

What's exciting about The Word Is Out! is that even though the set is joyfully plastered with grand solos by the aforementioned bevy of rhythm masters as well as Randy Brecker, Hiram Bullock, Ed Calle, Bob Mintzer, Arturo Sandoval, Peter Erskine and Mike Stern, everyone's truly dedicated to making this a buoyant team effort.

Pastorius' own compositions dominate, but classics from his famous collaborators Pat Metheny ("Sirabhorn") and Joe Zawinul ("Cannonball") are equally engaging. When this collection was released in 2006, even lovers of less progressive contemporary jazz enjoyed it for its energetic spirit and lyrical melodies.