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• Jaco Pastorius 1951-1987 •


Three times in the life of an Indian musician he is supposed to do a chilla, a solo ritual retreat which lasts for 40 days. Usually a hut is prepared in a remote region near the village of his guru's ancestors, and the musician is to play all day—every day. A tabla player, for instance, can play one tal (rhythmic cycle) each day or he can play the same cycle for the 40 days. It is during these days of extended playing that he will begin to hallucinate, have visions, and encounter his deepest fears and innermost insecurities. This is the time to face and conquer his demons. Then and only then will he explore musical and creative possibilities he would never have conceived otherwise.

The bass player above is electric in every way. He is Jaco Pastorius. When I knew him in Boston he was always on. Even sitting still in a chair he could barely contain his inner motion. Life for him was being fully plugged-in: he was on a super chilla. With the Pat Metheny Group and Weather Report our wired one had been to the sun and back and had stared-down solar flares, blasting them with the raw power and energy of his furious and explosive playing. Nothing could stop the forward momentum of his improvisations; nothing dared to lie in his harmonic path. He riffed into the Cosmos, turned black holes inside-out, and integrated parallel universes. If you should ever encounter someone like him give him plenty of room or you will be swept up into his rhythmic clutch. Bless his journey and wish him well on his quest—and don't forget to give thanks that your paths crossed. He will leave his imprint on you forever.

Not many survive the super chilla, but those that do emerge at a level far above us in a plane of musical entrainment where only members of that unique brotherhood can communicate. You may have heard of a few:
John Coltrane, Alla Rakha, Wolfgang Amadeus . . . .

The Official Jaco Website

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