New documentary 'Jaco' profiles legendary bass player Pastorius

Heavy metal band Metallica’s Robert Trujillo has financed and co-produced a new documentary about influential jazz bass player Jaco Pastorius.

Heavy metal band Metallica’s bassist Robert Trujillo has financed and co-produced a new documentary about influential jazz bass player Jaco Pastorius. “Jaco” will be screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival in San Rafeal, California this month and premieres publicly next month.

Trujillo was inspired by Pastorius’ so called ‘punk’ style with its intense rhythmic energy and virtuosity. After meeting Jaco’s son Johnny in Florida he became involved in the documentary the family had been trying to make for years. Trujillo was keen to show how Jaco appealed not only to a jazz audience but rock, punk, metal, funk and gospel fans too. 

He said, “They all love Jaco. Flea from the Chili Peppers is a huge fan. When some of the bass players that were strictly metal guys heard Jaco’s first solo record, it changed their minds, and taught them to appreciate jazz, or world music or classical music. It opened the door.”

The film has been four years in the making and contains audio, live music footage and interviews with bassists Alphonso Johnson and Bootsy Collins, as well as Carlos Santana, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and singer Joni Mitchell. Shorter and Pastorius played together in the ground breaking band Weather Report and Joni Mitchell enlisted Jaco Pastorius for her revered albums ‘Hejira’ and ‘Mingus’.

Jaco Pastorius' self titled first solo album in 1976 has been hailed widely as the greatest bass album ever made and a game changer for the electric bass. He was soon invited to join Weather Report by Joe Zawinul after the departure of Alphonso Johnson and played with the band through to 1981 including the Grammy Award-nominated album 'Heavy Weather'. After problems with drugs and alcohol he was was eventually diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and following a violent confrontation with a nightclub bouncer in Florida in 1987 he was left with brain injuries. He never recovered and subsequently died.

‘Jaco’ is co-produced with John Battsek of Passion Pictures who produced the Oscar winning documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ about enigmatic singer songwriter Rodriguez.

 

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