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Jaco Pastorius

Jaco Pastorius was a meteor who blazed on to the scene in the 1970s, only to flame out tragically in the 1980s. With a brilliantly fleet technique and fertile melodic imagination, Pastorius made his fretless electric bass leap out from the depths of the rhythm section into the front line with fluid machine-gun-like passages that demanded attention. He also sported a strutting, dancing, flamboyant performing style and posed a further triple-threat as a talented composer, arranger and producer. He and Stanley Clarke were the towering influences on their instrument in the 1970s.

Born in Pennsylvania, Pastorius grew up in Fort Lauderdale, where he played with visiting R&B and pop acts while still a teenager and built a reputation as a local legend. Everything started to come together for him quickly once he started playing with another rookie fusionmeister, Pat Metheny, around 1974. By 1976, he had been invited to join Weather Report, where he remained until 1981, gradually becoming a third lead voice along with Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. Outside Weather Report, he found himself in constant demand as a sessionman and producer, playing on Joni Mitchell, Blood Sweat and Tears, Paul Bley, Bireli Lagrene and Ira Sullivan albums -- and his first eponymous solo album for Epic in 1976 was hailed as a tour de force. From 1980 to 1984, he toured and recorded with his own band, the innovative Word of Mouth that fluctuated in size from a large combo to a big band.

Alas, Pastorius became overwhelmed by mental problems, exacerbated by drugs and alcohol in the mid-'80s, leading to several embarrassing public incidents (one was a violent crack-up on-stage at the Hollywood Bowl in mid-set at the 1984 Playboy Jazz Festival). Such episodes made him a pariah in the music business and toward the end of his life, he had become a street person, reportedly sighted in drug-infested inner-city hangouts. He died in 1987 from a physical beating sustained while trying to break into the Midnight Club in Fort Lauderdale. Almost totally forgotten at the time of his death, Pastorius was immediately canonized afterward (Marcus Miller wrote a tune "Mr. Pastorius" in his honor, as have many others over the years). ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


I love Jaco and his music. My son is also bipolar, a musician and plays bass, keyboards, composes and reminds me daily that everyone has a unique story. Please don't pretend to judge Jaco; just watch and listen to his life's work and you will discover that he was very musically gifted and a prolific, creative genius. Jaco was with us for such a short time but he will remain with here forever through his music.
Saw Jaco @ City Center with Weather Report during the reign of The Heavy Weather album in NYC with Herbie Hancock sitting across from myself in an inconspicuou s section of the theater it was a real treat after being present earlier at a Return to Forever venue. What great memories of (3.5) decades ago.
Had opportunity to see JP in Germany with Weather Report the man was awesome stage presence alone playing like that bass was a part of him never seen anything like it then or since
♫ Weather Report's 'Havona' by Jaco Pastorius http://www.j o e k i d d o n e . b l o g s p o t . c o m / 2 0 1 4 / 0 8 / w e a t h e r - r e p o r t s - h a v o n a - b y - j a c o - p a s t o r i u s . h t m l
dashboardcro w n
Agree with dunsun30 and mokospoko, the bio is inaccurate and disrespectfu l ! He certainly wasn't breaking in to the Midnight Bottle Club (the correct name). He got into an argument with the overzealous bouncer who was a martial arts expert. . .really sad.
One of the finest solos' in Jaco's discography !!!! MISS HIM XXXOOO
Like mokospoko said, fix the biography. Completely disrespectfu l to one of the greatest bassists ever to justify the homicidal bouncer.
In 86, Jaco was turning his life around. He had dabbled in drugs but his real problem was alcohol in combination with his bi-polar disorder. He was never forgotten! His fans and fellow musicians were ready to help as soon as he made himself available to be helped. Something happened, that caused him to have a sudden downward turn. And then some a$$ munch bouncer had to prove his pathetic life meant something so he took his authority as a free ticket to murder.
Its just a matter of respect to get the story right. He wasn't trying to break into the club, he merely wanted to see the show and possibly jam. It was some punk a$$ bouncer who beat him to death when he tried the Do you know who I am. There is no way he did anything to deserve the beating that had shattered his orbital bones and left him brain dead in a pool of blood in an alley. Also, he was hardly almost Forgotten, not even close. He was turning his life around in 85 and had a sudden fall
I was raised studying classical piano, and took up guitar and trumpet at the age of 12. I never really understood what base could be until I hear Phil Lesh, Stanley Clark, and JP.
No words...No words man...just listen.
:'(:'(:'(:'( : ' ( : ' ( : ' ( : ' ( : ' ( 2 sad & 2 stupid 4 words that those around him @ his worst times didn't SEE.......sp e a k i n g as just another bipolar musician, 2 many heads plunge down n2 the sand. ENOUGH!!! WAKE UP!!!
Get a life Richard S. Ginell. Certified - Julius Pastorius
chasegilmore 7 1
What do I need so I can get his sound on my bass anybody know how?
I saw Jaco live in concert about a half dozen times. Met with him twice, once when he was with Weather Report, after the concert he took out his bass and allowed me to play it, plus he gave me a lesson. I was honor then by his kindness and heart which came though his every note. The second time I saw him was in Chicago at the Ivanhow Theater with the master Herbie Hancock... An amazing free flowing fire storm of energetic power. Jaco change the world music, he left a foot print that will stand.
I would bet money that Jaco has a band in Heaven !!!! X
What a shame to come upon Jaco's creative music so late in life! (85) Better late than never. This is on Don Ellis's site. Good marriage!
Anyone ever try to play Kuru? It's incredibly hard to get it as smooth and clean as the master did but I'm almost there. There will never be another person like John Francis Anthony Pastorius The Third. The electric bass would never be the same. R.I.P.

My friends and I had a snow ball fight with Jaco and Jorma following a show at My Fathers Place, Rosyln NY 1986. I was very saddend to hear of his passing the following year and the circumstance s that led to the tragic end of this musical genius
I really enjoy listening to Pandora but the inaccuracy of the information is really frustrating. Also,If I could get liner notes when you clicked on the album and see the line up of who's playing and when it was recorded instead of track numbers without titles and the same bio I've have already seen, hell I'd pay for that.
... Acted like there was something at stake
Can't believe they listed Soul Intro/The Chicken off the Invitation LP. The one on here is from the Birthday Album with WOM Big Band. I know because I used this song as our intro to our reception at our wedding. Man, these guys really need to do their research...
Saw Weather Report on the Heavy Weather tour in Omaha, Nebraska. Incredible show! Jaco was on fire. And the other boys were no slouches either.
Yes really
He and Stanley Clarke were the towering influences on their instrument in the 1970s. Really, Mr. Ginell? What about Paul Jackson?
cheshirecatb a n
Almost completely forgotton at the end-?! I can't agree....eve n if it's true........ J a c o doesn't even need 2 names....... l o v e . . . . .
Jaco lived next to my best friend off of Oakland Park Blvd. in Lauderdale. We were all in awe of him. He is a legend who influenced quite a few surfers who loved music....... . . . . . . . . .
I still get goose bumps when I hear Portrait of Tracy.
Too often genius collides with madness and its outcome is tragic. RIP, Jaco.
I saw Weather Report with Jaco in Dallas in the late 1970's on his birthday, and his father sung happy birthday. One of the best shows that I ever attended.
He died in 1987 from a physical beating sustained while trying to break into the Midnight Club in Fort Lauderdale. Yes Jaco was basically murdered by a thug it was an unnecessary and over the top beating by a person with deeper mental problems than Jaco. Research it.. If Jaco hadn't encountered this savage beating he may have lived to turn things around and contributed even more to music.
New sound with each bar. Clean, smooth innovation and conferencing . Jaco is unconvention a l with a bit of rare seasoning.
Jeff Berlin could be a distant second to Jaco. Pastorius is a legend in his own right. RIP.
Jaco was the man! His untimely death was a trgedy. Check out Tal Wilkenfeld. She is awesome! Jaco reincarnated > I believe that she is ~ 25 now. Jaco died the year that she was born if I am correct.
howard.herrn s t a d t
The last comment about it being too late for Jaco to get therapy or help seems gratuitious and unfair. Jaco was hospitlaized and encouraged to get help. He refused. He clearly had multiple issues of mental health, drug and alcohol addiction. Sometimes addicts hit bottom and ask for help. Sometimes they hit bottom and die. Sadly...... I LOVE his first album. and treasure his music. When he was well, , he made a bass video and encouraged musicians to keep clean. Didn't keep his own advice.
Saw Jaco in '82 at a little jazz club in Tempe, AZ with Randy Brecker, David Sancious and several other studs. Probably wasn't 200 people there for the show. JP and the boys played hard and long for a very appreciative audience. He was a truly one-of-a-kin d musician, with some of the best bass chops I've ever seen (and I've seen them all). Too bad he lost his mind, blew his cool and cashed his chips way before his time. A lesson to all you young turks. I hope Jaco found some peace.
Jaco! :D
albundy737 is right. Geddy doesn't have nearly as good of chops as Jaco. His music is good, but he's not as good of a bassist.
Alex don't be ridiculous. CLiff is good but overrated, and while Geddy is a monster, Jaco was on a whole other planet.
Listening to this made me think of the many times I saw him at what was the Musicians Exchange in Ft Lauderdale. Had many deep conversation s and drinks with him before he started his melt down.
Sad to watch such a talent fade away...
I would say one of Jaco's contemporari e s , Jimmy Haslip is definitely in the same league.
@Juan Ernesto Zerpa
Ever heard of Geddy Lee? or Cliff Burton? They came very, very close.
Up to this date, there is no Bass player near close Jaco, we can have all the refine techniques, tons of books with master studies in the subject, many imitators, with fast hands, the most expensive equipment, but we have to understand that it was Jaco’s life what gave him that sound, those little imperfection s on his sound and technique,…. just imagine having a perfect life, without getting a traffic ticket, without getting drunk, with no sex, all beautiful and perfect, with money on the bank,
Uh,sorry to pop your bubble, but Jaco didn't live in PA. He was born there, yes, but moved shortly after his birth. His family moved to Oakland Park, Florida.
very artistic
Truly one of the innovators of 'Lead Bass playing". A true virtuoso. Jaco (Pa.) and Stanley (Philadelphi a , Pa.)make us Pa. Bassist extremely proud. R.I.P. brother Jaco!!!
jaco truly is the greatest electric bass player of all time. if not for his influence, some that followed might not have been able to expand bass playing the way they have, and some still cant approach his fluidity, but more importantly, taste in note choice.
I was introduced to Pastorius posthumously in 87. Only months after his death. While shopping for some juicy jazz albums in Everett, Washington, the store owner asked what I played. As soon as I said bass, he was handing me a copy of Word of Mouth. I can remember sitting with a friend listening to Crisis and neither of us believing what we were hearing.
That would be
Wayne Shorter
strictly-har l e y
I was blessed to see Jaco play with Joe Zawinal and Frank Shorter in 1979 in a small venue in Denver. Best show I ever saw. I still miss them- Magic.....
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