Second of two blog posts in which the jazz chop goes pop. (Read on below the picture. For the first part click here)
During the second half of the 70s, Wayne Shorter also collaborated with Joni Mitchell, who increasingly incorporated jazz influences (and musicians) in her folk-rock based music during the second half of the 70s. After the 1979 Mingus album, Mitchell did a short tour with a no less than stellar backing band, harbouring Jaco Pastorius, drummer/percussionist Don Alias, Coltrane heir Michael Brecker, and both Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays from the Pat Metheny Group. Do grab the 2CD version of the resulting 1980 Shadows And Light album, which contains many gems. One of them showcases Jaco’s bass style throughout, as well as a Pat Metheny self-citation (2’56”: may I have this Phase Dance, anyone?)
The inclusion of jazz-fusion adept musicians into 70s pop may not be too surprising, the last example of jazz musicians coming to aid on a pop album shook some more ground. At least with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, so the story goes. Both pianist Kenny Kirkland and Wynton’s brother Branford of saxophone fame left Wyntons ‘young lions’ jazz group, who had released albums like Black Code From The Underground.
Kirkland and Branford Marsalis joined Sting to pursue a band project, and recorded both The Dream Of The Blue Turtles (studio effort) and the double live album Bring On The Night. A Michael Apted 1985 documentary shows us Sting’s band-in-the-making, and is a blast to watch. Talking about a jazz inflicted backing band: they were joined by ex-Weather Report drummer Omar Hakim and ex-Miles Davis bass player Daryl Jones (Sting predominantly took guitar duties during that era). Just listen to this playful and witty Flintstones take during rehearsals
and more famously: do enjoy Kirkland’s legendary monster solo on ‘When The World Is Running Down…’ (from 4’26” in the link), in which he takes a C9 – D9 – E9 progression all over the place.
No worries: jazz chops in abundance.
- Geert Hurenkamp