CD: Gospel For JFP III



Tribute to Jaco Pastorius

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Gospel For JFP III

Artist: Tribute to Jaco Pastorius

Date of Release: 05/05/2005

Catalogue no: MJR005

Label: MoonJune Records

Price: £9

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Track Listing







Three Views Of Secret




Las Olas












I Can Dig It Baby








Punk Jazz




Teen Town








Good Morning Anya




Gospel For JFP III






Produced by Neil Weiss. Featuring over 60 musicians, jazz and fusion legends, band mates and colleagues of the legendary electric bass virtuoso and innovator Jaco Pastorius, among others: Alex Acuña, Carles Benavent, Charles Blenzig, Delmar Brown, Hiram Bullock, Kenwood Dennard, Hugo Fattoruso, Michael Gerber, Gil Goldstein, Danny Gottlieb, Billy Hart, Toninho Horta, Bireli Lagrene, Armando Marçal, Marcus Miller, Bob Mintzer, Othello Molineaux, Jorge Pardo, Felix Pastorius (Jaco’s son), John Patitucci, Mike Stern and more.




10/10/2005 Tom Barlow - JazzWise Magazine, UK

Not another all-star rehash of Jaco’s fretless pyrotechnics, Gospel for J. F.P. instead targets the writing talents of the late, great genius of electric bass. It’s easy to forget how good a songwriter Jaco Pastorius was, as this savy record reminds us via interpretations of some of his better and less known pieces. Its wide-screen approach is clear in the opener, ‘ThreeViews of a Secret’ – a delightful meeting between gypsy guitarist Bireli Lagrène, fusioneer Hiram Bullock and Uruguayan vocal ensemble Contrafarsa. Elsewhere, ‘Las Olas’, is a lilting Brazilian ballad with pianist Michael Gerber, while ‘Havona’ is a more direct treatment of the Weather Report classic with steel pans and Bob Mintzer’s soaring tenor sax. Likewise Gil Goldstein’s ‘PunkJazz.’ As if to emphasise that the record aims to capture the spirit of Jaco rather than his bass chops, several tracks are bass-less, diversely mining the composer’s acoustic, Latin and Caribbean lair. Felix Pastorius, by the way, is a chip off the old block, grooving like his old man gloriously on ‘I Can Dig it Baby.’


10/10/2005 Paul Donnelly - Tangent, UK

Rather than celebrating, or even attempting to emulate Pastorius’ bass playing skills this cd sets out to foreground his work as a composer, utilising a cast of more than 60 musicians. Inevitably each artist or band has its own approach, varying from jazz funk to straightforward piano jazz with many other influences in between. Of course some efforts refresh the tunes better than others. What they clearly have in common is a love of J.F.P.’s music. One of my all-time favourites has to be ‘Three Views Of A Secret’, a composition that has many of the hallmarks of a classic. My enjoyment was heightened by the inclusion, on the opening and closing sections, of the 14 voices of Contrafarsa, a group of vocalists from Uruguay who, quite literally, provide the sound of surprise and lift the track to a new level for me. If that’s not sufficient, the twin improvisations of guitarists, Hiram Bullock (electric) and Birelli Lagrene (acoustic), coax out the endless melodic nuances inherent in the writing. Their playing is a source of joy from beginning to end. The equally familiar ‘Teen Town’ is given a swaggering funk workout with Marcus Miller and Kenwood Dennard’s bass and drums constructing an energetic foundation for more of that singing Bullock guitar. What is especially gratifying is the fact that however virtuoso the individual playing may be, the tunes are given prime focus for re-shaping and re-vitalising. Which is as it ought to be. Shifting away from the electrified soundscapes, ‘Microcosm’ is a lesser known piece presented by the acoustic trio of Rich Franks (drums), Alex Darqui ( piano) and John Patitucci (bass). Ensemble and solo playing are impeccable throughout, displaying all the elegance and finesse you would expect from a trio such as this, given the appropriate material. There are a couple of tracks that don’t work for me. ‘Las Olas’, a more obscure composition, rendered by pianist Michael Gerber and friends, is simply bland and could have come from any Latin-ish fusion album. On the other hand Gil Goldstein’s idiosyncratic re-working of ‘Punk Jazz’ may just take some getting used to. He employs multiple accordions, fed through effects pedals and the result may be a piece of genuine innovation or simply a garish novelty. I’m not certain. Overall, this is a varied and sincere response to the work of a man who has made a lasting musical impression and whose reputation as a writer can only be consolidated by cds such as this.


10/10/2005 Alain Londes - AllAboutJazz.com

his tribute to the late Jaco Pastorius is like a musical kaleidoscope that makes the inquisitive listener wonder what color will come next. The large number of musicians featured includes some who had the chance to play with Pastorius, as well as others who were influenced by him. Most tunes were written by the great bassist, with a few exceptions. The popular Pastorius composition “Three Views Of A Secret” starts off with a wakeup call by the fourteen voices of the Contrafarsa chorus singing in unison through murga, a unique Uruguayan voicing style. Hiram Bullock and Bireli Lagrene then engage in a quiet electric and acoustic guitar conversation before Contrafarsa returns to close the piece. “Las Olas” eases the listener into an easygoing Brazilian mood featuring Michael Gerber on piano and Toninho Horta on guitar. The sound of Weather Report distinguishes the classic “Havona,” which originally made its mark on Heavy Weather. Othello Molineaux, a steel pan master, provides a weaving feel while saxophonist Bob Mintzer grounds the tune melodically. Later, drummer Kenwood Dennard enlists electric bassist Marcus Miller to recreate “Teen Town,” also from Heavy Weather, in the same fusiony vein yet at a somewhat slower tempo than the original. The recording quiets down into an evocative “Continuum” that could easily be used as a comfortable new-agey musical accompaniment for visitors at an aquarium. Within the first notes, one might assume incorrectly that “I Can Dig It Baby” is a singing interlude. In reality, the song quickly takes the shape of a groovy line with Felix Pastorius holding the structure on electric bass with the assistance of a uniquely and engaging percussive Afro-Uruguayan rhythm called candombe. An example of Pastorius' straightahead jazz side is “Dania,” named after a beach in Florida and played by the Michael Gerber trio. Long-time Pastorius friend Gil Goldstein borrows “Punk Jazz” from Weather Report’s Mr. Gone and transforms it into a fascinating sound experiment using several accordions. Two of Pastorius' oldest friends, Richard Franks on drums and Alex Darqui on acoustic piano, are joined by acoustic bassist John Patitucci on the never-recorded “Microcosm.” In its rendition of “Good Morning Anya,” the Zebra Coast Band, a quartet led by Gil Goldstein, showcases its world-fusion sound by playing over an easy reggae-sounding rhythm. Jorge Pardo leads the melody on saxophone with Goldstein providing textured clips on accordion. Jaco Pastorius imprinted his mark on funk, R&B, modern jazz, and Afro-Cuban settings. This tribute covers all the bases. Such a representative collection should satisfy fans as well as introduce the unfamiliar to a very influential musician who left us eighteen years ago.


10/10/2005 John L. Walters - Guardian, UK

Gospel for JFP III is a tribute album that foregrounds Pastorius the composer - it's not bristling with guest star bassists in the manner of the Jaco Pastorius Big Band's 2003 album Word of Mouth Revisited, though Marcus Miller pops up on Kenwood Dennard's version of Teen Town. Here's a chance to hear the Pastorius legacy as world jazz, with sounds and performers from the Caribbean, South America and Spain alongside the usual downtown suspects and Pastorius's teenage son Felix playing with Grupo del Cuareim. It is fascinating to hear how versatile Pastorius's compositions are: the opening track is a long, sublime version of Three Views of a Secret performed by Uruguayan choir Contrafarsa with guitarists Hiram Bullock and Biréli Lagrène. Three tracks are by blind pianist Michael Gerber, including the little-known Las Olas, sung by Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta, and a version of Continuum featuring no bass at all. Gil Goldstein performs Pastorius's Punk Jazz on multi-tracked accordions. It's preposterous and fun, but Punk Jazz on accordions demonstrates how difficult it is to make complex music with a single instrument and electronics.


10/10/2005 John Matouk - About.com

During his short life, Jaco Pastorius was a major player on the contemporary jazz scene. Probably best known for his work with the band Weather Report, he became a legend before his untimely death in 1987 at the age of 35. He was a brilliant electric bass player and a talented composer as well. It is his compositional skill that is celebrated on the new album, Gospel for J.F.P. III, Tribute to Jaco Pastorius. Jaco's most famous pieces are represented on the album along with less obvious work. The opening track is the beautiful "Three Views of a Secret" - an interesting arrangement performed by electric guitarist Hiram Bullock, French gypsy guitarist Bireli Lagrene, and Uruguayan vocal ensemble Contrafarsa. There is also a heavy, grooving version of the Weather Report classic "Teen Town." It features Marcus Miller on electric bass and Kenwood Dennard on drums and is probably the track that is closest in feel to Jaco's original recordings. My favorite track is Gil Goldstein's interpretation of "Punk Jazz." Another Weather Report feature, Goldstein rearranges it for multiple accordions treated with guitar effects. It is revealing and somewhat haunting. There is a wide range of jazz on Gospel for J.F.P. III. Several tracks have acoustic, Latin and Caribbean elements. Gospel should not only appeal to fans who miss Jaco and Weather Report, but also to listeners who enjoy intelligent music arranged and performed creatively.


10/10/2005 Glenn Astarita - JazzReview.com

This star-studded extravaganza features one time Weather Report drummer/percussionist Alex Acuna and a thirty-plus alignment of international artists paying tribute to the late bass god, Jaco Pastorius. And itís not simply a chops-laden session featuring an assortment of bassistís trying to mimic Pastoriusí innovative technique. Thankfully, this production concentrates more on his compositional acumen, and how various pieces can snugly fit within a hodgepodge of jazz-related genres. Shrewdly mixed and tastefully produced, the program contains a multidimensional outlook. There are Brazilian slants, and hard hitting Weather Report-like fusion romps, namely on ìHavona,î with steel pan master Othello Molineaux riding atop Pete Sebastianís pumping bass lines and streaming synths. On 'Dania', pianist Michael Gerber rephrases the melody via a briskly swinging groove, supported by bassist Kenny Davis and drummer Billy Hart. Other highlights include Marcus Millerís spacey bass and Hiram Bullockís ravaging electric guitar lines on everyoneís favorite, 'Teen Town'. Beautifully recorded, this tribute breathes newfound stylizations into Pastoriusí legacy. Essentially, the musiciansí and producersí overall vision presents a multitude of variants and perspectives here. Ití's more than just hero worship, as this set presents a refined and multifaceted portraiture of a brilliant star whose life was tragically and needlessly cut short. Zealously recommended.


10/10/2005 Rob Hudson - Mad Move, Australia

Take a set of songs penned by the late self-pronounced greatest bass player in the world and have them performed by a who’s who of today’s jazz world and you have a recipe for a self indulgent mess. Fortunately these tracks become a testament to Jaco’s song writing and arranging skills and stay well clear of only being personal statements. Jaco Pastorius was a jazz bassist of prodigious talent. He burned bright but died young and his legacy is known more for how he died than why he lived and this does him a great disservice. His playing was phenomenal but what most true fans revel in now are the songs he left behind. His song writing and arranging skills were sublime and this project puts the focus where it belongs, on his songs. In contrast to other tribute sets of this nature, Gospel For J.F.P. has a set list that contains some of Jaco’s lesser know solo tracks and songs he wrote when his was in Weather Report. This refocused spotlight is a welcome addition to his legacy and the playing throughout is heartfelt and tasteful. Starting with the song, Three Views Of A Secret, the standard is set. Hiram Bullock and Bireli Lagrene deliver performances outstanding in subtle nuances and taste. Las Olas is discrete luxury personified and Havona shows compositional elegance once again. Continuum is delicate and beautiful, while I Can Dig It Baby is bold and brassy. Jaco’s playful side is captured as well with examples like Gil Goldstein’s accordion version of Punk Jazz. Throughout the tracks there is a level of sophistication both compositionally and instrumentally that is seldom heard in popular music these days. There is also a real feel of admiration amongst the players; this is a work of love not money. Restructuring these songs to showcase Jaco’s song writing and not just an excuse to blow is the albums strongest element and the love of the music itself pervades the entire work. This is a work filled with wonderful moments.


10/10/2005 Scott Yanow - Los Angeles Jazz Scene

Jaco Pastorius made the electric bass into a major solo instrument. Before Pastorius' arrival on the scene, the electric bass, which was pioneered in jazz by Monk Montgomery back in the mid-1950s, was generally used as a low budget if louder version of the acoustic bass. Only Stanley Clarke in the early 1970s had previously carved out a distinctive style. Jaco's virtuosity, musical recklessness and his unwillingness to be subservient served him well in the 1970s. With Weather Report, various solo projects and his Word Of Mouth Orchestra, Pastorius developed such an individual sound and a forceful approach that he is still the dominant stylist on the electric bass, 18 years after his premature death. For this wide-ranging collection, Neil Weiss and Leonardo Pavkovic gathered together six previously released selections (five Jaco originals plus the tribute title cut) and recorded five new performances that are comprised of four Pastorius songs and another tribute. The personnel and instrumentation change from song-to-song. Although Jaco is actually only heard on one number, a straight ahead trio version of his "Microcosm," his spirit is felt throughout each selection. Along the way such notables as guitarists Hiram Bullock, Bireli Lagrene and Mike Stern, pianist Michael Gerber, drummers Danny Gottlieb and Rich Franks, steel drummer Othello Molineaux, tenor-saxophonist Bob Mintzer, Gil Goldstein on keyboards and accordion (playing the latter on "Punk Jazz"), and Marcus Miller and Jaco's son Felix Pastorius on electric bass are among those paying homage to Jaco. The music is mostly fusion and often quite rockish but never predictable or overly repetitive. Gospel For J.F.P. III. demonstrates the great influence that Jaco Pastorius still has on music today, both in his approach to the electric bass and his compositions.


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