'Jaco - The Film'
(Jaco Pastorius, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2015 / MVD Visual)
Overview: 'JACO' is a compelling story of prodigious talent, personal adventures and raw human vulnerability. It presents the world of the bass guitar phenomenon Jaco Pastorius through the eyes of his family and various musical collaborators.
DVD Verdict: Produced by the Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, and directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak, this blistering biopic contains incredible unseen footage and photography from the Pastorius family archive, and takes viewers into the heart and soul of this hugely influential cross-genre artist.
Featuring interviews with an array of artists (Flea, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Geddy Lee) and friends, 'JACO' unveils the story of his music, his life, his demise, and ultimately the fragility of great artistic genius.
For those not wholly in the know, Jaco Pastorius was an influential American jazz musician, composer, big band leader and electric bass player. He is best known for his work with Weather Report from 1976 to 1981, as well as work with artists including Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, and his own solo projects.
As a musician, he developed a highly influential approach to bass playing that combined a deep understanding of advanced harmony with ferocious technical prowess. His signature approach infused Latin-influenced 16th-note funk, lyrical soloing on fretless bass, bass chords and innovative use of harmonics. He was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, one of only seven bassists so honored (and the only electric bass guitarist).
In truth, 'Jaco - The Film' has a great balance between interviews, footage, facts, and music - and for anyone who wonders where jazz went after Kind of Blue, without having to go through learning about Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman or Pharaoh Saunders, this kind of answers that question - it looks at fusion, and asks how rock and jazz came to live side by side.
More than that it focuses on the man - this slender reed that was a ball of energy heading to self-destruction - and gets close to some real understanding of his motivations, his demons, and his genius. No mean achievement. This really does try to understand both the man and the music and it is a really fascinating, lively, and interesting watch. Definitely what a real music documentary should be. I highly recommend this film to all lovers of music so they can see - even if it's just this one musican at a time - the depths of fortitude that some musicians delve into to ensure we are happy listening campers. Buy it today, you will not regret it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Disc 1: Features the full length film with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Running time: 1 hr. 57 min.
Disc 2: Features DVD Extras - Outtakes, Anecdotes, and Stories - with 30 never-before-seen interviews with Flea, Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana, Mike Stern and many more, who discuss Jaco's incredible contributions to music, the art of the bass and the boundaries of music, as well as Jaco the person. Hear stories about Jaco's earliest bands and classic recordings. Includes special footage used during the historic Hollywood Bowl (Jaco s World) Tribute Show 2015, plus many surprises. Running time: 1 hr. 40 min.