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Jaco Pastorius' "Modern American Music" Coming April 19 on CD and Vinyl

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Jaco Pastorius
When Jaco Pastorius’ solo debut appeared in 1976, a new standard in both jazz and the electric bass guitar was born. Many of the tracks on that eponymous album had their genesis two years earlier when a 22-year-old Pastorius and friends used after-hours time at Criteria Studios to work out songs and jam. Eventually, six of those session tracks were pulled to an acetate. Many of the songs would later find their way onto Jaco’s self-titled debut, but some remained unreleased until now. All tracks appear here in their full, unedited form for the first time.

Omnivore Recordings will release Modern American Music . . . Period! The Criteria Sessions on April 19, 2014 — Record Store Day. Produced in conjunction with the Pastorius estate and Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, this release contains 11 revolutionary tracks from one of the world’s greatest musicians. The CD and LP feature 11 tracks from the Criteria sessions, essays from Trujillo and Pastorius biographer Bill Milkowski (writer for DownBeat and Jazziz), and unseen photos from the family’s archives.

According to Milkowski, from his notes, “Raw and uninhibited, these Criteria demo sessions showcase a working band reveling in the energy that they brought to the bandstand on any given night in 1974 while revealing a young, fully-formed Jaco Pastorius standing on the verge of taking over the world.”

The original six-song acetate is being reproduced for Record Store Day in a special multi-colored vinyl version that will include a sought-after bonus track, “Havona/Continuum." The special Record Store Day LP will also contain a download card for the entire CD program (being released the same day), as well as an insert with both essays and rare photos. This material was unearthed and restored in conjunction with the upcoming documentary, Jaco, the official Record Store Day film for 2014. Director was Stephen Kijack; producers, Rob Trujillo and John Battsek.

While these tracks, recorded at the beginning of Pastorius’ incredible career, may be from the past, they, like all of Jaco’s music, transcend time and space.

According to Metallica’s Trujillo: “Omnivore’s release of Jaco Pastorius’ ‘Criteria Sessions’ is a raw unique statement — a statement that lets you know you are experiencing a powerful historical musical moment. Jaco’s sound, and facility alone, take you on a trip that is totally new and fresh! This is punk at its best, and the attitude and edge is pure.”

Record Store Day director Michael Kurtz said: “I fell in love with Jaco Pastorius in 1976 when I heard Weather Report’s Black Market being played in my local record store. In 1977 I caught the band on its Heavy Weather tour and heard Jaco perform live. It was like I had been exposed to a force bigger than life. Performing on the Fender bass he’d personally stripped of frets, Jaco propelled the band with ferocity and finesse. He was shirtless, with an axe bold as love. Thirty-seven years later it is a dream come true to be a part of helping Omnivore unearth and release the recording of a very young Jaco performing with his own band in Miami’s Criteria Studios.”

Mary Pastorius, Jaco’s daughter, added: “Once I allowed the memories associated with records to come in, it was like opening the proverbial floodgates — especially so when I started looking through my own records, having a visceral sensory overload experience with every one. Them records is powerful stuff!”

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