Word of Mouth is the second album by Jaco Pastorius, released in 1981 while he was a member of Weather Report, and also the name of a big band that Pastorius assembled and with whom he toured from 1981 to 1983. While his debut album showcased his eclectic and impressive skills on electric bass, Word of Mouth focused more on his ability to compose and arrange for a larger band. The album still shows off Pastorius’s skill, most notably in the solo opening to “Chromatic Fantasy” by J.S. Bach and the title track. “Crisis” also features a fast, bass pattern looping, which runs under the frantic soloing. Most of the rest of the album’s bass is subdued and blends into the band’s arrangement. The song “John and Mary” is dedicated to Jaco’s children from his first marriage to Tracy; he had two other children, twin sons Julius and Felix with his second wife, Ingrid.
The band’s all-star cast included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Peter Erskine, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Brecker, Don Alias and Toots Thielemans who is featured on harmonica on many of the songs. Early pressings of the album did not include a list of musicians, though later releases listed only the names of the performers in respective, unnamed groups (for example, the main band was the first block of names.) The reason that early pressings of the album had no personnel listed was because Epic/CBS disputed Pastorius’s contract with Warner, and only agreed to the album being released if no other CBS artists on the album were credited – prompting Pastorius to dispense with the credits altogether.
The title of the album is the namesake for the Pastorius tribute album Word of Mouth Revisited (Wikipedia).
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow:
Bassist Jaco Pastorius’ Word of Mouth orchestra was an unfulfilled dream, a worthy concept that did not last long enough to live up to its potential. Its debut album was released without a listing of the personnel, so here it is: Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, and Tom Scott on reeds, trumpeter Chuck Findley, the easily recognizable Toots Thielemans on harmonica, Howard Johnson on tuba, drummers Jack DeJohnette and Peter Erskine, and percussionist Don Alias. The music ranges from the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and some Bach to Jaco originals that cover straight-ahead jazz, Coltrane-ish vamps, and fusion. Next to the bassist/leader, Thielemans emerges as the main voice (http://www.allmusic.com/album/word-of-mouth-mw0000197695).
All tracks written by Jaco Pastorius except where noted.
“Crisis” – 5:17*
“Three Views of a Secret” – 6:05
“Liberty City” – 11:57
“Chromatic Fantasy” (Johann Sebastian Bach) – 3:01
“Blackbird” (Lennon–McCartney) – 2:48
“Word of Mouth” – 3:53**
“John and Mary” – 10:52
Jaco Pastorius – electric bass, double bass, organ, piano, synthesizer, autoharp, koto, percussion, vocals, drums on “Word of Mouth”
Herbie Hancock – keyboards, synthesizers, piano
Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Tom Scott, Mario Cruz – saxophone
Toots Thielemans – harmonica
Chuck Findley – trumpet
John Clark – French horn
Howard Johnson – tuba
Don Alias, Robert Thomas, Jr. – percussion
Peter Erskine, Jack DeJohnette – drums
Paul Horn-Muller – steel pans
Othello Molineaux – steel pan
John F. Pastorius IV – vocal on “John and Mary”
Released: July 1981
Recorded: 1980 –’81
Label: Warner Bros.
Producer: Jaco Pastorius