Film Reviews

Jaco Pastorius

JACO: The Film (Iron Horse Entertainment)

JacoJaco Pastorius’ story is one of the more tragic tales in recent memory, beginning with a career that seemed to have unlimited possibilities but was cut short due to his inner demons, dalliance with drugs and ultimately his untimely death caused by a violent confrontation outside a South Florida nightclub. Universally praised as possibly the most innovative electric bass player of all time — on a par with Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis as far as their instrumental abilities were concerned — Pastorius could have risen to the same strata in terms of renown and respect, had fate not plotted otherwise.

Consequently, Robert Trujillo’s award winning documentary, JACO, offers the wider world a chance to understand and evaluate Pastorius in hindsight, ensuring that the appreciation comes easily. Rare home movies and rarely seen performances offer an unblemished view of an artist striving to perfect his craft, while the two dozen or so interviews with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Sting, Flea, Carlos Santana and others shed light on Pastorius’ talents and the impact he had on others. It’s a remarkable tale full of fascinating insights — the concert sequences alone are enough to dazzle the least suspecting — but ultimately a heartbreaking one, given there was so much promise that was ultimately left unfulfilled. One can only guess what he might have achieved had misfortune not intervened.

“Jaco changed the rules of what’s possible on the bass,” Flea is quoted as saying, and that’s clearly evident in both the performance clips and testimony offered by his peers. A superb film that’s earned it accolades, JACO measures up as one of the best music documentaries ever made.

– Lee Zimmerman

You Can Purchase A Copy Of JACO Here.

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