(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Jaco” (1978)

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After an opening that manages to be sparse and yet unresolved, “Jaco” transitions into the first (only?) track on this album structured to feature rounds of solos in a more traditional jazz fashion. Pat really takes off here, particularly when transitioning from one chorus to the next. Even this early in his career, his “high-density” runs have a relaxed feel. It’s quite a trick to pack in so many notes and still make it feel like you’re not bearing down.

I don’t know the history of this song, though some folks on the Internet say that the original title was “Jaco Can You Hear Me?” Great title, especially considering the room given to Mark Egan and his fretless bass.

Check out the two versions embedded below. I’ve always thought that the studio track had something of a light funk feel to it during the solo passages. The live take, a little more hurried, actually leans more toward Disco here and there, believe it or not.

Up next: Aprilwind

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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