Jaco arrived in the classroom at 9:30 A.M. "This is not my amp. I don't know what this feedback is all about". After adjusting the sound of a
Peavey 400 amp connected to a Bose speaker cabinet, Jaco started tuning and warming up with scales, melodies such as Donna Lee and other original bass lines. Jaco played Round Trip/Broadway Blues. "Next... groove stuff. I just got off the plane, you know. The weather, you know. So what's up. Anything? Any questions?
Let's start, you know". Jaco looked very tired. He had the fretless bass that he uses the most. "How many people here are bass players"? There were about 30 students in the small classroom, the majority were bass players.
The morning session covered:
- his approach to diatonic vs. chromatic improvisation
Jaco explained and played example that he wrote on blackboard.
- vibrato techniques for fretted vs. fretless bass/guitar
- E flat harmonic fingering used in Portrait of Tracy
- the instrument
strings, fingerboard coating, 1962 Fender Jazz bass and mentioned that his fretted bass neck was broken. He played Donna Lee slowly.
- false harmonics technique
He played the beginning of Birdland.
- his compositions.
He played Continuum.
While leaving the building, I asked Jaco if he didn't mind that I recorded the lessons and conversations since my English was limited at the time.
He approved. I asked Jaco when he was born. He responded in Spanish, "Diciembre uno" (meaning December first).
We went to a drug store to get toothbrush, etc. I told him that I was very impress with the solo he played in
Joni Mitchell's Shadows and Light video. Then we went for a beer.
The afternoon session covered:
"Bring instruments tomorrow." Students agreed on a later starting time for next days since 9:00 A.M. was too early for Jaco. "Everybody practice diatonic stuff". Jaco talked about transcriptions and creation of his method book. Jaco autograph the back of a picture of him with Tony Williams and John McLaughlin in Havana Jam rehearsal.
- modal and atonal improvisation
He played Blackbird.
- dead notes technique
- conga playing on the bass
- Teentown and other melodies.
- how to developed speed keeping the feeling (expression).
"Play a lot. Take your time to articulate every note".
- hands position.
He played America the Beautiful.
Day 1 Recordings