The bass and music world lost a tremendous talent with the March 18, 2021 passing of Paul Jackson. Best known for his landmark role with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Jackson also left his indelible mark on the recordings of Santana, The Pointer Sisters, The Tony Williams Lifetime, Sonny Rollins, Lenny White, Eddie Henderson, Azteca, Thomas Escovedo, Roger Glenn, and via four solo albums. Among the trademarks of Jackson’s innovative, highly improvisational, aggressive style were his growling Fender Precision tone, hammer-ons and pull-offs, scoops, trills, rapid side-to-side vibrato at the end of phrases, ghosted notes, harmonics, and constantly evolving bass lines for which he often employed a call-and-answer approach.
Count a young John Patitucci as one of many bassists to be heavily influenced by Jackson’s jams. Recently, Patitucci was at The Bunker Studios in Brooklyn with saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Marcus Gilmore, keyboardist Jon Cowherd, and percussionist Rogerio Bocatto when some magic happened, as he explains below: