Jaco Pastorius – Live at Montreal Jazz Festival

It must have been a great experience to sit down and enjoy the good musical performance of Jaco Pastorius. Pastorius was a virtuoso bass player, who modernized the electric bass guitar playing skills using music theory and his amazing ear training. This concert took place in Montreal, Canada on 1982. The concert was involved with great musicians, which the following were, Jaco pastorius (bass), Peter Erskine (drums), Othello Molineaux (steel drums) ,Don Alias ( congas/percussion), Bobby Mintzer (saxophone), Randy Brecker (trumpet). With no introduction the band starts right of the bat with “The chicken”, a jazz tune composed by Pee Wee Ellis and made famously by jaco Pastorius. The band performed the piece different than the original. They have incorporated new modern rhythms and made it into a funky jazz tune. I guess they have been influenced by other musical styles that were around in the 80’s. As usual in jazz performances, every musician gets to solo in the performance. I was amazed the way Bobby Mintzer (saxophone) started off the solo using a tenor saxophone. Even though Mintzer was performing with a tenor, I’ve noticed a lot of Charlie Parker movements in his solo. Using a lot of chromatic ideas in his solo Mintzer managed to layout an incredible solo. Now one thing I found unusual were the steel drums. Aside from being an amazing bass player, Pastorius was also an experimenter which tried new instruments in his ensembles. I’m guessing Jaco replaced the jazz vibraphone with steel drums in order to receive a new sound and identity to his ensemble. Othello Molineaux (steel drums) did not only bring a Caribbean instrument into the performance, he also played an incredible solo on the first piece. He incorporated a lot of funky blues and jazz scales which is a usual role of the vibraphone in jazz. On the next piece, Bobby Mintzer grabs his bass clarinet and performs a spectacular solo by himself which leads slowly in to “Donna Lee”. Donna lee is a famous jazz tune composed by Charlie Parker on alto sax. But again, Jaco made the jazz tune even more famous when he performed the saxophone part on electric bass guitar. Donna lee is a fast tempo Bebop tune which I found really amazing when trumpeter Randy Brecker, played the melody line, as it was no big deal. Aside from playing the melody, he also laid down a great solo. As anyone would noticed, Brecker performed the same accents as the alto saxophone does in a solo, which I believe would be more difficult on the trumpet than the Saxophone. Finally, Jaco Pastorius gets his own chance to solo by himself and shows the crowd his best. He starts his solo by using harmonic notes on E minor while having a percussive bass rhythm in the background accompanying his solo. After his percussive solo, he slightly goes into the chord changes of “America” which he performs as a solo piece on the electric bass. Jaco Pastorius is considered the best of all time. Not because of his experiments, but because of his musicianship. It must of been great witnessing a great bass player with a great jazz band, live.




  1. Hi Bladimir,
    This is a really sensitive account of the music in this concert.
    I’m curious why you chose it? It’s a little far removed from the intent of the blog (New Music in New York City)–perhaps you can connect it with something going on here today?
    Are there other great bass player that you might connect this with? Though this concert took place in 1982, do you think there are possible connections with today? Does the music seem very dated or very contemporary?

    And a note for everyone: remember to plan your writing so that you have paragraph breaks. It’s really hard to read a long single paragraph online. We expect breaks, and maybe even headers and active hyperlinks.

  2. Awesome piece Bladimir. This is indeed a great roster of musicians. Especially Othello Molineaux on those steel drums. He is an amazing improviser with such great sense of melody. Jaco’s talent and passion for music is sincerely missed. His documentary “Jaco” is really good. You should check it out if you haven’t already.

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