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(69 min, MoonJune)
TRACK LIST: 1. Three Views of a Secret 9:10 (Hiram Bullock) 2. Las Olas 5:00 (Michael Gerber) 3. Havona 6:25 (Othello Molineaux) 4. Continuum 4:40 (Michael Gerber) 5. I Can Dig It Baby 5:05 (Grupo Del Cuareim) 6. Dania 4:50 (Michael Gerber) 7. Punk Jazz 6:50 (Gil Goldstein) 8. Teen Town 6:52 (Kenwood Dennard) 9. Microcosm 8:34 (John Patituci) 10. Good Morning Anya 8:20 (Zebra Coast) 11. Gospel For JFP III 3:18 (Trio Fattoruso) All tracks: by Pastorius, except 11: by H Fattoruso. Produced by N Weiss & L Pavcovic.
Prolusion. After his early death in 1987, at the age of 36, John "Jaco" Pastorius has quickly become an icon in the world of jazz. A charismatic bass player and a very innovative composer, he exerted influence upon thousands of musicians from all over the world. His solo discography counts no less than two dozens recordings, though only four of them are full-fledged studio albums, the others being bootlegs and compilations. Pastorius also actively collaborated with Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Flora Purim and many other remarkable musicians, though to the Prog Rock lovers, he might be known above all as a member of the legendary Jazz Rock band, Weather Report. By the way, Jaco hated the term Jazz Rock for some reason, denying the presence of Rock (and any other) component in his music. It all was just jazz to him, but facts are stubborn things, which exist regardless of anyone's desire.
Analysis. "Gospel for JFP III" isn't the first tribute to Pastorius's creative legacy, but is the first to fall into my hands. Bassist John Patituci is the one of the project's participants, with whose work I was acquainted before. I mean John's solo albums, though I've also heard some of those he did with Chick Corea. Surprisingly, his version of Jaco's Microcosm turned out to be one of the three numbers done in jazz's most traditional traditions (with your permission), the others being Dania from Michael Gerber and Good Morning Anya by Zebra Coast. The first two present a standard jazz trio (piano/bass/drums); the latter features also saxophone and accordion, but each is a playful improvisation on the primordially set themes, with a distinctive swinging rhythm in the axis. The other nine compositions might be of interest to Prog Rock lovers considering Jazz-Fusion, which, though, is one of the most important progressive genres in any event. I Can Dig It Baby, performed by Grupo Del Cuareim, is the only song in the set, the vocals being performed by a female singer alone and along with a large mixed choir as well. With the bright synthesizer solos and the powerful beats of several congas at the fore, the music is rhythmically pronounced and, amazingly, has a modern and ethnic feel to it simultaneously. This is a tasty, very original song, though it would've been better had it been a bit more complicated. Those who've heard anything else by The Temptations, particularly from the latest period of their activity, should have a clearer idea of its essence. Save vocals and ethnic percussion, which are absent here, the track that has given the title to the album is much in the same vein, having a lush, powerful and pretty mesmerizing modern sound. Three Views of a Secret, Las Olas and Continuum each has passages of acoustic guitar in its basis, the other soloing instrument being either electric guitar, as on the former, or acoustic piano, as on the latter two. The music entirely lies within the framework of an improvisational harmony, but all the maneuvers were carefully thought-out before being performed. The opening track features also a male choir, doing vocalizations in the way that has been widely used by Queen (whatever one may say or think). The remaining three compositions are brilliant and will be a pleasant surprise for any Progressive Rock fan with a wide horizon. Havona and Teen Town are classic Jazz-Fusion at its best, with fully coherent arrangements and an intense full-band sound. Punk Jazz in the vision of Gil Goldstein is closer to RIO than to anything else. Gil plays accordion and bass accordion via specific sound processors, such as "Distortion" and "Chorus", and uses overdubs, creating a highly unusual dark-colored palette, filled with harmonious angularities and resembling the interplay between a few chamber and electric instruments.
Conclusion. This compilation contains plenty of truly progressive works. The music doesn't demand any specific knowledge from the profound music lover, but you should be on a good footing with improvisational harmonies to like it. Do you find there is a contradiction in terms in the previous sentence? Then this CD is destined to be not for you.
VM: Agst 1, 2005
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