Stephen Kijak's documentary on the revolutionary bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius, "Jaco," will be the official film of this year's Record Store Day and Omnivore Recordings will release a collection of unissued sessions by Pastorius from 1976.
"Modern American Music . . . Period! The Criteria Sessions" contains 11 tracks recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami during jam sessions led by the late Pastorius, who would go on to lead Weather Report, perform with Joni Mitchell and, in the 1980s, become the most celebrated and influential bass guitarist in the world. Several of the songs made their way onto his debut solo album.
Considered the last jazz musician to revolutionize the way an instrument is played, Pastorius had a far and wide impact on multiple styles of music around the world. His work on the Metheny debut and Joni Mitchell's "Hejira" established him as a significant force on the bass and when he joined Weather Report, he became the group's front man alongside saxophonist Wayne Shorter. The band hit No. 30 on the Billboard 200 with 'Heavy Weather," the album that featured their legendary track "Birdland."
Their success was felt on the road as the band played to audiences of tens of thousands of fans nightly around the world at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Pastorius being the instrumental group's focal point. When he opted to go solo, there was a bidding war among major labels for his services even though he wanted to do a project that most would say was outdated -- a big band album. Pastorius' solo career would be limited to three albums before he disappeared from the recording scene in the mid-80s.
Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, who helped finance the documentary "Jaco," produced the album along with the Pastorius estate. He contributes an essay for the set as does Pastorius biographer Bill Milkowski. John Battsek is producing the film with Trujillo.
Omnivore will issue the album on CD and multi-colored LP with a download card on April 19. Pastorius made the recordings when he was 24 years old, having already played bass on Pat Metheny's landmark debut album. Pastorius, who would ultimately struggle with mental illness, died under mysterious circumstances in 1987.
Trujillo, who recently spoke about the film at NAMM, issued a statement about the "Criteria Sessions," calling them "a statement that lets you know you are experiencing a powerful historical musical moment. Jaco’s sound, and facility alone, take you on a trip that is totally new and fresh. This is punk at its best, and the attitude and edge is pure.”
"Jaco" is still in post-production.