Weather Report, Night Passages
September 1997 was wrapping up and I was sitting in Sudsy Malone's on a Saturday afternoon drinking cheap beer, when a friend asked me if I was sad because Jaco Pastorious had been killed earlier that week. I asked him who Jaco was, and he laughed and said, "You play bass and you don't know who Jaco is?" I went to Wizard's and asked for some records with this Jaco on it. The only thing they had was Night Passages, so I went home and listened to it. Cliff Burton and Steve Harris were my biggest influences on bass at the time. I thought that was as good as it got, music-wise, until I listened to my new record. I had honestly never heard anything like the sound of Jaco Pastorious' fretless bass. I was completely blown away. His bass playing sang to me. It moved me to tears at times. After listening to that record for hours, I wanted to play like that. The bass playing on "Port of Entry" changed the way I played bass. To this day, I still try to emulate the unbelievably deep groove in that tune. The solo alone is a warehouse of licks, phrases and tones I dip into every day. It's going to sound weird, but everything changed after that record. The way I dressed, the way I talked, the way I thought, even the way I listened to music. Everything changed. When I feel the need to recharge, I put that record on. It changed my life.
THE WALKER PROJECT plays Watson Brothers Friday and Allyn's Café Saturday. For more on Chris Walker's various projects, check his Web site at amileinmyshoes.homestead.com.