Watch Will Lee and Richard Bona cover Liberty City by Jaco Pastorius in this exclusive clip from the Beneath The Bassline documentary

Jaco Pastorious performs on stage with Weather Report at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in 1981
(Image credit: Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Jaco Pastorius will be forever remembered as arguably the number one bass player of all time. Even today, his aggressive but melodic upfront style, demonstrated in such inspired fashion on his 1976 self-titled debut, stands as a reference point by which modern bass guitar playing divides into ‘pre-Jaco’ and ‘post-Jaco.’ The album became to the electric bass what Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar.

“I think it’s impossible to pick up a fretless electric bass and not think of Jaco Pastorius,” says jazz bassist Christian McBride. “Much in the same way that you can't pick up an alto saxophone and not think of Charlie Parker. At some point you either consciously try to avoid that or you address it without even knowing."

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.