Anthology, the Warner Bros Years
The legendary Jaco Pastorius forever changed the way the bass guitar is played and viewed. Anthology, the Warner Bros Years, explores the influential legacy of this musical revolutionary over a two-disc compilation, focusing on his recordings from 1980-82.
Most of the set’s 22 songs were selected from three previously released Warner Bros. albums: Word of Mouth, a 1981 studio release that stands as the fretless-bassist’s magnum opus; The Birthday Concert, a live big band set recorded in 1981 on his 30th birthday and Invitation, which was recorded during a 1982 tour of Japan with the Word of Mouth Big Band.
In addition, the set also includes an unreleased recording from 1981 of Pastorius performing Charlie Parker’s bebop anthem Donna Lee.
In the collection’s liner notes, Jaco biographer Bill Milkowski writes: “Through his brilliant innovations…Pastorius liberated his instrument from its traditional role in the background and re-imagined it as a potent solo axe and orchestral tool.”
His influence still resonates today on modern bass players like Level 42’s Mark Roberts and Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, a lifelong fan who, incidentally, is producing Jaco, a documentary about Pastorius that’s due out in November.
Anthology finds Pastorious pushing the boundaries of what the bass, and jazz, could be with tracks like Crisis, Word of Mouth, Chromatic Fantasy, John and Mary, and a beautifully orchestrated version of the waltz-time ballad Three Views of a Secret. The live performances featured on the set mix selections from The Birthday Concert (Punk Jazz, Reza and Liberty City) and Invitation (Sophisticated Lady and Fannie Mae).
Also included is a recording of Okonkole’ Y Trompa that was originally available on the Japan-only release Twins I & II.
The set also spotlights Jaco’s performances on other artists’ albums with Nativity, from Brazilian percussionist-vocalist Airto Moreira’s I’m Fine, How Are You? and Upside Downside, the title track from Mike Stern’s 1986 album.