Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jaco and Bright Size Life

Bright Size Life was my first Pat Metheny album. In fact, it was Metheny's first album. Released in 1976, it features Bob Moses on drums and the legendary bass revolutionary Jaco Pastorius. I love its rainy day-ness. It's mellow and full of soul.

Here is the original audio version of the title track.

I really got into this album when I was in music school. Metheny was a big influence on my playing at that time. I think I first heard of this album when I read the Jaco Pastorius biography Jaco: The Extraordinary and the Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius, "the World's Greatest Bass Player" by Bill Milkowsky.

Jaco's life was really quite tragic. He was a drug addict and alcoholic and in his later years, he could barely get a gig despite his status as a bass legend. Finally he was tragically killed from injuries sustained in a bar fight in Florida.

To this day Jaco is recognized as a pioneer of jazz and fretless bass. His techniques have changed bass forever. His playing has influenced not just bass players, but musicians of various instruments and styles.

This is an excerpt from the "Hot Licks" instructional video described in Milkowski's book. It is said that Jaco hadn't performed for a while and was nervous. He borrowed $5 from his dad and bough a six pack to calm his nerves. He loosened up alright, as you will see in this clip where Jaco plays a little duet with himself.

Here is a live version of Jaco on piano playing his tune "Three Views of a Secret" with the incomperable Toots Thielemans on harmonica.

It is the combination of Metheny's mellowness with Jaco's wildness along with Bob Moses' solid backbone that makes Bright size life a magical recording. I reccomend listening to the album in its entirety, preferably over and over... and it helps if it's really rainy and wintery.

No comments: