Multiquarium Big Band – Remembering Jaco

Album Review | Naïve/Believe | Review by Allan Wilkinson

“What was it like to play with Jaco?” asks Peter Erskine, Jaco Pastorius’ former Weather Report band mate, “in a word it was fun”. Remembering Jaco is a musical project, which sees the collaboration between the French Multiquarium Big Band and the famed gypsy guitarist and former child Protégé Biréli Lagrène.  Putting aside his guitar, Lagrène takes the fretless bass to places only ever ventured by Pastorius in his heyday. 

Having made his mark on the jazz fusion scene back in the 70s and 80s with Weather Report and Pat Metheney, as well as having a stint with Joni Mitchell, who effectively transformed her music almost overnight, Pastorius created an instantly recognisable sound, which Lagrène tastefully replicates here, while adding his own touch of genius at the same time.  The nine familiar pieces represent some of Pastorius’s finest moments, such as “Barbary Coast”, “Liberty City” and “Kuru/Speak Like a Child”, interspersed with one or two spoken interludes, as Erskine remembers his former collaborator, which has the feel of beat poetry about it, spoken over some cool jazz runs.  With his life dramatically being cut short in his mid-thirties, the charismatic bassist is remembered with grace and respect and once again, we hear the essence of the ‘Bass of Doom’.