Three years ago seems like just yesterday.
Walter's dedication to Jaco Pastorius.
Thirty years ago Jaco Pastorius, who created an indelible style of electric bass playing, moved on. It’s Thanksgiving and I’m feeling grateful for my influences.... Jaco was my upmost and a fellow Floridian who made perfect musical sense to my sensibilities.
Whereas I’ve used a guitar to chisel my way through the tough business of my chosen field, any moment with a bass is really for me, a more special one. Although Jaco played the four string bass he influenced even my six string guitar playing more than any other regular guitarist did. His playing exhibited the rare marriage of beauty and advanced technique – a partnership that’s ubiquitous in the classical realm yet in my opinion nearly absent in other musical forms.
In the last few months I’ve been working on an instrumental composition that I’m naming “Doom” primarily in homage to the name Jaco gave his instrument –“The Bass of Doom”. The name would prove prophetic for in the final fatal stretch of his struggle with mental illness Jaco, abused the instrument, nearly destroying it, and eventually lost control of himself.
Jaco’s effect on a song was forthright yet always appropriate. His style was so unmistakeable that jazz musicians frown upon anyone who sounds too much like him. This is the case in other arts. The painter who borrows too much Matisse or Picasso is thought less of. This intra-field censorship pays respect on the surface with the subtext that declares the offender void of original ideas. Furthermore, cruelly, the technical merit necessary to manifest in the style of the inspiration source earns the offender no points.
If to sound too much like Jaco is to say nothing, then with some trepidation, I present this first draft of “Doom”. This was my first exercise of writing in a style. I have purposely played it upon a fretted vintage Fender Jazz Bass and not a fretless one to help me to create some un-Jaco moments. I teeter between sadness and joy when I study him and when I let myself play as he might have, to the extent that I can. Sometimes gratitude needs to trump critique. Enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving.
My next show: Wednesday 11/22 @ Rockwood Music Hall in New York City • 8PM • Stage 2
We are thankful that we keep working... There is a Spain tour in the works for early 2018. For everyone else we have a special going on holiday gifts! Walter will autograph them special:
Northeast Florida is its own kind of weird. Go there with Swamp Cabbage and let your jaw drop, smile and dance. The band is an electric three-piece blend of southern rock, funk and second-line dixieland jazz grooves. Led by guitarist/singer Walter Parks, the longtime sideman to Woodstock legend Richie Havens, Swamp Cabbage transports audiences to the marshes, palmetto thickets, piney woods and trailer parks around which Parks grew up. Oft compared to The Meters, ZZ Top, Tom Waits and Dr John.,
Featuring Walter Parks (guitar/vocals), Jagoda (drums) and Jim DeVito (bass)
Walter Parks is performing a reunion show with his old group "The Nudes" now referred to as Stephanie Winters & Walter Parks. Check it out.
Allow me to present "The Time of the Turning" that I performed last year on Richie Havens' old road worn Guild D40 acoustic for the live solo recording "Cathedr...al". I return to the wonderful hall this month with cellist Stephanie Winters Friday September 22 • Walter Parks and Stephanie Winters – Formerly The Nudes @ Grace Van Vorst Church • Downtown Jersey City • 7:30pm •
I've been asked to play for blues night at Maxwell's in Hoboken this Saturday. Therefore, from my collection of old amps I have chosen my 1964 Deluxe for the oc...casion. The factory speaker is unremarkable but when the old blackface drives my Baffle House boxes we take it to church. Who's coming to witness?
Thanks to Fox and Crow for a great vibe last night! And to Joe Horwitz for a cool shot!