Jaco Pastorius, Jaco: The Film (Iron Horse Entertainment)
The documentary tells the story of the meteoric career and early burnout of the electric bassist who transformed the instrument. Video showing Pastorius (1951-1987) at work and at play alternates with appearances by musicians and others who idolized him as a performer and a composer. The rock bassist Flea’s assertion that “Jaco changed the rules of what’s possible for the bass” summarizes their collective conclusion. Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Mike Stern, Peter Erskine and Bootsy Collins are among dozens of colleagues who recall what several of them describe as Pastorius’s genius, and the joys and downsides of his manic-depressive nature. As for Pastorius in Weather Report—the band with which he became famous—Ms. Mitchell calls them “a circle of sorcerers, really.” Anyone who wants to understand how the music changed during Pastorius’s short life will learn much from this film.