It seemed almost every great bassist in L.A. turned out for the Sunday night premiere of “Jaco,” the documentary about the late bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius, including Robert Trujillo of Metallica, the film’s producer, Verdine White, Lee Sklar, Bootsy Collins, Hadrien Ferraud, Bunny Brunel and Darryl “The Munch” Jones, who holds up the bottom end for the Rolling Stones.
Not since Anaheim’s immense National Association of Music Merchant’s convention in January had so many professional bass players assembled under one roof.
The capacity event, which took place at downtown’s Theatre at the Ace Hotel, stood as a fitting tribute to a musical force of nature whose career took a tragic turn at the pinnacle of his creative powers. On-screen testimonials from such musicians as Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers — who introduced the film, along with Trujillo and the film’s co-director Paul Marchand — as well as Wayne Shorter, Peter Erskine, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Sting and so many others reinforced the notion that Pastorius was the Jimi Hendrix of his instrument.
Trujillo recalled first seeing Pastorius play with Weather Report in 1979 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium as a teenager. “I witnessed something I will never forget,” he recalled form the stage. “It really changed my life. The thing that was amazing beyond him being a composer and an incredible bass player was the performance itself, the stage presence. It made me realize that you could be fearless.”
Post screening, the evening shifted into a bass clinic extravaganza, with multi-bass groups; Pastorius’ bassist sons Felix and John performed original jams and also covered their father’s music, while Trujillo thrashed with Mass Mental, joined by Flea.
The film is scheduled for a Nov. 27 release on VOD, DVD and Bluray.