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Baker's Dozen

Creating A Songwriter: The 13 Albums That Made Thundercat
Rob Hakimian , April 14th, 2020 08:53

The virtuoso bassist takes Rob Hakimian through his musical life story with a baker's dozen that traces his trajectory from kid messing with his parents' records to the in-demand player that he is today. Photographs by The1Point8.


Jaco Pastorius - Jaco Pastorius
I think these albums [by Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke] essentially let me know what I was supposed to do in life. I would read Jaco's autobiography, I wanted to learn everything about the man, and I would go find the other albums that he worked on. Everybody knows him as the actual virtuoso bassist that planted the seed, but I wanted to know what made him tick, what got him to the point of being who he was. That's what Jaco Pastorius did to me; it made me want to know him as a person.

I would study, I would transcribe, I'd listen, imitate and mimic everything. As you go through different phases, somebody may even go so far as to say 'you sound like this person'. I mean, you gotta be okay with those moments, because it's leading to something. If you're keen on the instrument, it's always leading to something else.

Every time I listen to the self-titled album I feel weightless. I feel like it's going between 10-year-old me and 35-year-old me. It almost feels like I've never heard it before, and I get the same emotions every time I hear it. It's one of the only ways I know I'm moving forward is by hearing this album all the time. It's crazy, it feels weird, but it's the truth. It's like a reset button in my life, listening to this album. By the time I get to the end of Jaco's album, I just remember how much and how hard guys like him used to work. It also reminds me to keep going, and it also reminds me where I came from.