WORD OF MOUTH was Jaco Pastorius' the first solo group recording, and it does a good deal to substantiate the widely held claims concerning the bassist's genius and wizardry. As a technician, Pastorius was untouchable, and his radical, melodic approach (he seems to play both rhythm and lead at once) forced a generation of bassists to reconceptualize their relationship to the instrument.
Pastorius' skills are on full display on this recording, as shown by the first cut, "Crisis," which lives up to the feeling of its title as a mind boggling, rapid-fire bass line tears through a tapestry of fragmentary instrumental sounds. The pieces that follow are stylistically varied and hop from Bach ("Chromatic Fantasy"), to the Beatles ("Blackbird"), to revisited swing ("Liberty City"). While the orchestrations toward the end of the album get somewhat heavy-handed, Pastorius' fluid agility and the contributions of top-drawer players such as Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Jack DeJohnette and harmonica player Toots Thielmans make WORD OF MOUTH a must for fusion fans.