JacoFest Coming to Iridium October 22-25

On October 22-25, 2009, the NYC jazz club Iridium will be host to a very special set of concerts dedicated to the memory of the flamboyant and influential bassist Jaco Pastorius. Among the artists scheduled to perform are: Miles Evans, Lew Soloff, Dave Bargeron, Alex Foster, Butch Thomas, Billy “Spaceman” Paterson, Gil Goldstein, Delmar Brown and musical director Kenwood Dennard. Special bass guests include Victor Bailey and T.M. Stevens. The series is called JacoFest and it was organized by presenter Charles Carlini.

Jaco Pastorius
By Courtesy of Bob Bobbing
Jaco Pastorius

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Carlini told JT that he’s been doing these tribute shows pretty much on an annual basis since 2005, when the JVC Jazz Festival asked him to organize a concert at the Beacon Theater. For Carlini, this has truly been a labor of love. “I grew up in South Florida and I met Jaco when I was a teenager,” he recalled. “I saw him perform at the Musicians Exchange and he was wild. So unforgettable. I was really in awe of him – his talent, his personality. Over the years, I became friendly with his family. I wanted to honor him.”

Carlini said that when it came to deciding on the lineup, he relied almost entirely on Jaco’s former bandmate and friend, Kenwood Dennard, who signed on as musical director for the event. “It seemed that when we said we were doing this Jaco Tribute, the musicians gave up what they were doing to be a part of it, whether it was Alex Foster on Saturday Night Live or Dave Bargeron in the pit bands of Broadway.”

For Carlini, the festival is a way of preserving Jaco’s legacy as one of the most influential electric bassists in the history of jazz. “If you ask any major artist about Jaco, they right away mention what he did to change the shape of bass playing. It’s a cliché, but there really is a difference between bass ‘Before Jaco’ and bass ‘After Jaco.’ I think his legacy grows all the time.” And for the musicians, the concerts offer a special opportunity to play Jaco’s music with old and new friends. Carlini said that their feelings about Jaco are palpable. “You can see the love on the stage.”

The Iridium is located at 1650 Broadway (at 51st Street) in New York City. For more information call 212-582-2121 or visit Iridium.

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