Get this crazy baby off my head!


Jaco Pastorius & Biréli Lagrène

Jaco Pastorius & Biréli Lagrène- Stuttgart Aria - 1986 - Jazzpoint Records

At the end of their tour European tour -- and the triumphant concert in Rome documented on Heavy 'n Jazz -- Jaco Pastorius, guitarist Bireli Lagrene, and percussionist Serge Bringolf decided to leave the continent with at last one studio recording under their belt. The result is Stuttgart Aria. With the addition of three additional musicians -- Jan Janke on synths and keyboards, Peter Lubke on drums, and keyboardist Vladislav Sendecki (the keyboardists never played at the same time) -- the date went off as a series of formatted tunes with extended improvisations anchoring them to the album. While the styles here vary wildly; they are all rooted deeply in the jazz fusion and R&B worlds. To be fair, the trio of Lagrene, Pastorius, and Bringolf could have executed these songs very well -- especially since one of them was "Donna Lee," Pastorius' transcription of the Charlie Parker bebop classic that he recorded on his own first solo album for Columbia. The keyboards seem to get in the way, and sound stilted based against the loose groove created by the pair of string players. And then there's the matter of Pastorius' "singing" on the title track, which is a meld of James Brown funk, high-tech rock, and jazz. It's one long riff; Lagrene gets to riff on forever as Pastorius indulges his weak voice and awful lyrics ("people got to be free/give 'em a shot of R&B"), quoting from Sly Stone and any other tune he can think of. It just comes off as indulgent as hell without any substance other than Lagrene's playing to hold it in place. But there are astonishing moments as well, when Pastorius drives a dub-riddled "Jaco's Reggae" into the stratosphere with a meld of chordal and scalar riffs that never, ever sacrifice the track's rhythm for the sake of improvisation. Lagrene's chunky, knotty chords give it a deeper feel, lending the bottom a wide base. There is also a gorgeous performance of "Teresa" with the single weepiest bassline Pastorius ever recorded. The set ends with a serious lyrical, lush, and moving version of Henry Mancini's "Days of Wine and Roses" that pairs Lagrene and Pastorius together in a silky weave of emotion and musical virtuosity, exchanging harmonics and chromatic melody in a painterly fashion. This disc is far from perfect, and must have been a bit of a drag to even make ever such a high-energy tour, but it's not without merit -- especially for serious fans of the two principals. © Thom Jurek © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/stuttgart-aria-mw0000654208

Good jazz-funk from two jazz fusion giants, guitarist Bireli Lagrene and the late legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius recorded in March 1986 at Melody Tonstudio Stuttgart. This album is not perfect and does not do justice to the talents of the two protagonists. This album would have been better with the omission of a couple of mundane tracks with awful lyrics and some of Jaco’s vocals. In fact, many of the tracks are swarming with good ideas but were never developed properly because of Jaco Pastorius’ very poor physical and mental health due to his insoluble drug addiction problem. However, taken as a whole, the album has plenty of great funk fusion with nice dashes of R&B played by the two great keyboardists, Jan Jankeje and Vladislaw Sendecki, and the musicianship by all band members is second to none. Five of the tracks were composed by band members, individually and collectively and there are covers of Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee”, Pee Wee Ellis’ “The Chicken”, and Mancini’s “Days Of Wine And Roses”. Pastorius and Lagrene have both recorded far better solo albums, but “Stuttgart Aria” should not be ignored, because on the occasions when these two jazz legends gelled they produced music that was exceptional, and this album has plenty of great moments. Listen to Biréli Lagrène’s great “Fifteen” album and Jaco Pastorius’ marvellous “Invitation” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 130 Mb]


1 American Boy - Lagrene, Pastorius, Jankeje, Sendecki 4:56
2 Donna Lee - Charlie Parker 4:35
3 Stuttgart Aria I - Lagrene, Pastorius, Jankeje, Sendecki 7:34
4 Jaco Reggae - Jankeje 5:57
5 The Chicken - A.J. (Pee Wee) Ellis 5:41
6 Teresa - Pastorius 8:45
7 Stuttgart Aria II - Lagrene, Pastorius, Jankeje, Sendecki 9:58
8 The Days Of Wine And Roses - H.Mancini, J.Mercer 6:20


Bireli Lagrene - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jaco Pastorius - Electric Bass, Piano, Vocals
Jan Jankeje - Bass [Synthesizer], Backing Vocals on Tracks 6,8
Vladislaw Sendecki - Keyboards, Synthesizer
Peter Lübke - Drums
Serge Bringolf - Percussion, Backing Vocals


When Bireli Lagrene's Routes to Django: Live was issued in 1980, the 13-year-old jazz guitarist was immediately praised by critics as a protégé of Django Reinhardt. He had already won a prize in a festival at Strasbourg in 1978, and his appearance at a Gypsy festival was broadcast on television. For the next five years, Lagrene would mime Reinhardt's style, even recording versions of the master's "Nuages" and "Djangology" on Swing '81. Over time, however, his role as a protégé began to seem limited. "When I was a kid," Lagrene later recalled, "I used to put on the record again and again, until I succeeded in redoing him [Reinhardt]. Afterwards, I understood that respecting the great guitarist was worth much more than imitating him...." Lagrene was born a Sinti Gypsy on September 4, 1966, in Alsace. His father had been a prominent guitarist during the 1930s, and Lagrene started playing guitar at four or five. "My father was a big Django fan and a Stéphane Grappelli fan and he just loved this Hot Club de France music," Lagrene told Peter Anick in Fiddler Magazine. "He also grew up with it, so since he was a guitar player, he wanted us -- me and my brother -- to become guitar players and to play Django Reinhardt's music." By seven, Lagrene was playing jazz, eventually focusing on Reinhardt's distinct style. "When I was about nine years old," Lagrene later told Guitar Player, "I didn't even realize that I could play the guitar or that I was a musician. I just played it as easily as eating food. Later, I got together with a guitar teacher to learn about scales and picking, but he told me I already knew everything, and he walked away after about half an hour." In his late teens, Lagrene's musical taste began to evolve as he absorbed players like Wes Montgomery and Jimi Hendrix; he also began playing electric guitar. "The concept of the 'heir apparent' to Django playing distorted rock guitar solos on his Yamaha solid-bodied instrument must have disillusioned many diehards," wrote Andy Mackenzie, "but Lagrene has lost none of his original ability." Lagrene has been an active live performer since the 1970s. In 1984 as his career was just beginning, he appeared at the Django Reinhardt Tribute at Fat Tuesdays in New York City. "Mr. Lagrene showed that he is more than a remarkable clone, as he added his own colorations to the Reinhardt manner, particularly in his original improvisations," wrote John S. Wilson in The New York Times. In 1997, Lagrene appeared at the New York Blue Note with Larry Coryell and Billy Cobham. Lagrene has also continued to record a steady stream of albums. In 2002, Dreyfus issued Gypsy Project, a recording that found him returning to Reinhardt and the classic jazz songbook. "This album should not be seen as an acceptable substitute for the original Reinhardt recordings," noted Rick Anderson in Notes, "but should be considered an essential complement to them by any library supporting the study of jazz guitar." Dreyfus issued Gipsy Routes in the late spring of 2008. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bir%C3%A9li-lagr%C3%A8ne-mn0000082316/biography


Jaco Pastorius was a meteor who blazed on to the scene in the 1970s, only to flame out tragically in the 1980s. With a brilliantly fleet technique and fertile melodic imagination, Pastorius made his fretless electric bass leap out from the depths of the rhythm section into the front line with fluid machine-gun-like passages that demanded attention. He also sported a strutting, dancing, flamboyant performing style and posed a further triple-threat as a talented composer, arranger and producer. He and Stanley Clarke were the towering influences on their instrument in the 1970s. Born in Pennsylvania, Pastorius grew up in Fort Lauderdale, where he played with visiting R&B and pop acts while still a teenager and built a reputation as a local legend. Everything started to come together for him quickly once he started playing with another rookie fusionmeister, Pat Metheny, around 1974. By 1976, he had been invited to join Weather Report, where he remained until 1981, gradually becoming a third lead voice along with Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. Outside Weather Report, he found himself in constant demand as a sessionman and producer, playing on Joni Mitchell, Blood Sweat and Tears, Paul Bley, Bireli Lagrene and Ira Sullivan albums -- and his first eponymous solo album for Epic in 1976 was hailed as a tour de force. From 1980 to 1984, he toured and recorded with his own band, the innovative Word of Mouth that fluctuated in size from a large combo to a big band. Alas, Pastorius became overwhelmed by mental problems, exacerbated by drugs and alcohol in the mid-'80s, leading to several embarrassing public incidents (one was a violent crack-up on-stage at the Hollywood Bowl in mid-set at the 1984 Playboy Jazz Festival). Such episodes made him a pariah in the music business and toward the end of his life, he had become a street person, reportedly sighted in drug-infested inner-city hangouts. He died in 1987 from a physical beating sustained while trying to break into the Midnight Club in Fort Lauderdale. Almost totally forgotten at the time of his death, Pastorius was immediately canonized afterward (Marcus Miller wrote a tune "Mr. Pastorius" in his honor, as have many others over the years). © Richard S. Ginell © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jaco-pastorius-mn0000113480/biography

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