It may be 24 years since iconic American jazz musician Jaco Pastorius, known for his electric bass guitar play, passed away, but his legacy continues to linger. Mumbai veteran Karl Peters will pay tribute to his favourite bassist this week
Karl Peters comes from a family of musicians from Chennai. In a house full of random notes flying out of every open window, it was impossible to stop himself from humming a tune. "I first took up the guitar, but I had a soft spot for rhythm. I used to play around with the drums and discovered the bass guitar one day when the bassist of my high school band didn't show up. The bass guitar allowed me to explore rhythm with ease," says Peters in between practice sessions for his upcoming tribute gig.
Today, bass has come to such a level that it's on par with the lead guitar, says Peters in preparation for a 90-minute long show that will pay tribute to late veteran bassist Jaco Pastorius. Peters will share the stage with his son Kurt on drums, Loy Mendonsa on keyboards and Sanjay Divecha on guitar.
Peters, who has a long love affair with Pastorius' work remembers the first time he was introduced to the "master". "It was in the '70s that I met world famous saxophonist Dave Liebman and he was raving about this new bass player who joined the band Weather Report. I listened to his music and was blown away," he says.
Peters was 25 years old when he attended a Pastorius concert, made more memorable because he also got to speak with him. "I took two days to recover from the shock of seeing him play live. He spoke to me and showed me his guitar," narrates an excited Peters.
That is when he decided to get "serious" about music. "I was turned on by Pastorius' work. It's not simple stuff. You have to educate yourself to be able to play his music and play with musicians of a higher calibre," explains Peters.
Today, the musician can't imagine what he would have done if not for music. "I began playing at clubs like the Bamboo Hut in Chennai when I was 15 years old. Ever since I can remember I've wanted to be a full-time musician."
At: 10 pm, October 26, Bluefrog
The master of the bass
Jaco Pastorius started playing the drums when he was a child (following in the footsteps of his drummer dad), but a football accident left him with a wrist injury that put an end to that dream. It was quite by chance that he realised his passion for the bass guitar. Pastorius is known to have invented the "Jaco growl" --a method of plucking the strings right above the bridge pickup. Pastorius used natural and false harmonics to extend the range of the bass and won recognition for his unique style. The musician, however, suffered from a mental illness, and a substance-abuse related disorder. After being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 1982, he died five years later following a violent altercation. He was only 35 years old.