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Rick Suchow: Bass

joni on jaco...

Here's a great excerpt from Joni Mitchell's 1979 Down Beat Magazine interview with famed jazz writer Leonard Feather, which appeared in the September 6th issue. They were discussing Charles Mingus and the recording of Joni's "Mingus" album.

Leonard: Did Charles Mingus know anything about the choice of Jaco before you made it?

Joni: We talked about personnel and the people he suggested, I didn't know any of them. I tried some sessions with people he suggested, but still, all the way along, in the back of my mind I had my favorites, and those are the people I ended up working with.

Leonard: Did you tell him about Jaco after you used him?

Berkeley Jazz Festival: (l to r) Don Alias, Jaco, Tony Williams, Joni, Herbie Hancock

Joni: No, we talked about him at an earlier stage -- you have to understand he was very ill then, so I couldn't tell from his responses whether he knew Jaco's work or whether he liked it. I couldn't get any real feedback. All I knew was that he was very prejudiced against electrical instruments, but when he articulated his prejudices on a tape that I heard, Jaco transcends them all.

He felt that with an electrical instrument you couldn't get the dynamics; that the dynamics were all done by pushing buttons and so on. But Jaco completely defies all that; he gets more dynamics than any bass player... he's phenomenal, he's an orchestra. He's a horn section, he's a string section, he's a French horn solosist -- as a matter of fact when you have a job for the bass player, you almost have to hire a bass player!

This is an excerpt from Joni's 1979 interview with Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone:

Cameron: You may tour this summer with a band including Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorious, presumably to play material from the Mingus album. What kind of set would you do?

Joni: With these players, we're talking about young musicians who have no real musical or categorical preferences. We all love rock & roll. We all love folk music. And we all love jazz. If anything, we want to be considered a musical event. We're going to do some traditional African ceremonial drum pieces. I would like to get loose enough to dance. Jaco, you know, is a bass player, but he's also a fantastic keyboard player. In this band, we're going to try to switch instruments. It should be very creative.

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