Jaco | Chicago Reader



Bassist Jaco Pastorius was a virtuoso, capable of breathlessly fast tempos, and a pioneer on electric bass with his fretless instrument, use of harmonics, and excursions into feedback and noise. The best evidence this documentary presents in support of his genius is the roster of people interviewed for it: such talented bassists as Flea, Sting, Bootsy Collins, and Geddy Lee provide more than enough sycophancy, and some of Pastorius's most famous collaborators (Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell chief among them) express awe at his talent and frustration with his personal problems. Pastorius suffered from bipolar disorder and abused drugs, but neither of these things was responsible for his death, which occurred after a Florida club bouncer beat him into a coma. This incident gets surprisingly short treatment from directors Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijiak, who take an interminable hour and 45 minutes to get there.


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