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Metallica's Robert Trujillo talks Jaco and Jazz

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 14:57

Rock God Bassist Robert Trujillo of Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves fame, speaks to Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore about the long road travelled to produce "Jaco: The Film" and how the Pastorius sound has influenced his playing.

When Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo decided he wanted to tell the story of one of his musical heroes, he likely didn't realize it would envelop nearly a decade of his life. But that's exactly what happened once he committed to the new documentary "Jaco: The Film".

This loving tribute to the life and times of Jaco Pastorius begins by tracking his early days growing up in Florida. It was there that his father Jack Pastorius made a homebase while he toured the country as a big band leader and singer. It was also where Jaco was exposed to varied genres including funk, R&B, Cuban rhythms and even country music. It wouldn't be long before he needed to feed his ferocious appetite to play and perform. He learned to master the fretted and fretless bass, and wielded a musical discipline that his peers still envy today. The story continues with plenty of attention paid to his work with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell, and his wildly creative solo career. The film also can boast interviews from pillars of popular music like bassist’s Flea, Sting, Bootsy Collins and Geddy Lee, band-mates Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell, and musical peers like Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santanna.

Almost as famous as his music is Jaco’s legendary fall from grace. He passed away in 1987 under tragic and violent circumstances, and the film looks to strike a responsible balance between his genius and his struggles with mental illness.

With all that in mind, it would be fair to say that the Jaco Pastorius story is so wrought with tragedy, hijinx and genius, that it would take a village to piece together his legacy on film.

Robert Trujillo was in between Metallica albums when he started kicking the tires of his Pastorius film. He would end up producing the project, working alongside celebrated directors Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak, and teaming up with family, friends and band mates to put together his roadmap. The result was a bumpy road full of production potholes; one that only the echoes of Jaco Pastorius could have paved.

“Jaco: The Film” was released in 2014 to rave reviews and continues its slow bass-y trudge across the planet with upcoming premieres in the UK and Japan.

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore sat down with Robert Trujillo at the Four Seasons Hotel ahead of Metallica's most recent Toronto performance.

“Jaco: The Film” is available for purchase at here or rent or buy it on iTunes. It continues to be released in theatres worldwide.

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the JAZZ.FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m.

To get in touch with Mark it’s

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