Jaco Pastorius – Word of Mouth, Jazz Fusion Album

Word of Mouth‘ is the title of a studio jazz rock/jazz fusion album by legendary, highly creative, innovative, and revolutionary bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius which was released in 1981 when Jaco was still a member of the fantastic American jazz rock/jazz fusion band Weather Report. It is the second official solo studio album released by Jaco Pastorius (after his debut eponymous one issued in 1976) and precedes Jaco’s live album entitled ‘Invitation‘ which was released two years later in 1983.

Word of Mouth (1981) by Jaco Pastorius, frontal cover artwork. Image source: www.discogs.com

Word of Mouth is also the name of Jaco’s big band with which he managed to tour between 1981 and 1983. The major distinctions which sets this studio album apart from his debut one is the fact that Word of Mouth highlights the compositional and arranging abilities of Jaco Pastorius, in counterpart to his amazing performance skills on the electric bass which can be heard on his debut self-titled studio album released in 1976.

Recorded between 1980 and 1981, the album was released through Warner Bros. in July 1981, being produced by Jaco himself, and has a total length of 44 minutes and 2 seconds. His big band included then fellow Weather Report bandmates Wayne Shorter (saxophone) and Peter Erskine (drums) as well as Herbie Hancock (keyboards), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Michael Brecker (saxophone), Don Alias (percussion), and Toots Thielemans (who played on harmonica on many songs on the album).

There had also been a crediting controversy regarding the album, at least for the first 50,000 units sold, more specifically the fact that the label didn’t want to credit all the musicians who contributed for the recording sessions. Subsequently, on all other copies of the LP, the names of all musicians were listed.

In critical regards, the album was mostly very well received by Allmusic (which gave it 4 out of 5 stars) as well as The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (which gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars). In stark contrast, The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide only gave it 2 out of 5 stars.

The album has the following tracklist (all songs composed by Jaco Pastorius except where otherwise noted):

  1. Crisis;
  2. Three Views of a Secret;
  3. Liberty City;
  4. Chromatic Fantasy (composed by Johann Sebastian Bach);
  5. Blackbird (The Beatles cover; composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney);
  6. Word of Mouth;
  7. John and Mary.

It is important to mention the fact that John and Mary, the final track, is a tribute of Jaco to his children from his first marriage with Tracy Sexton.

The recording personnel was as follows:

  • Jaco Pastorius – electric bass, double bass, organ, piano, synthesizer, autoharp, koto, percussion, vocals;
  • Herbie Hancock – keyboards, synthesizers, piano;
  • Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Tom Scott, Mario Cruz – saxophone;
  • Toots Thielemans – harmonica;
  • Chuck Findley – trumpet;
  • John Clark – French horn;
  • Howard Johnson – tuba;
  • Don Alias and Robert Thomas Jr. – percussion;
  • Peter Erskine and Jack DeJohnette – drums;
  • Othello Molineaux and Paul-Horn Muller – steel pan;
  • John F. Pastorius IV (Jaco’s son) – vocal on ‘John and Mary’;
  • Hubert Laws – flute.

Below you can integrally listen to all of the constituent tracks of the album. I truly hope you’ll like it and that you’ll have a great musical audition! All the best, much health, take care, stay safe, many blessings, and great peace your way! God bless you and keep on listening to jazz fusion! 😊🙏✌️☮️🤘

Documentation sources and external links:

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