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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 the tune "Mr. Pastorius" in his honor, as have many others over the years).

Since Pastorius' death, there have been numerous posthumously released albums featuring previously unheard live and studio recordings. In 2015, the bassist was also the subject of the documentary film Jaco, produced by bassist Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies, Metallica) and Pastorius' oldest son John Pastorius IV.~ Richard S. Ginell
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Anthology: The Warner Bros. Years

Disc 1

1. Crisis (Remastered Version)

2. Blackbird (Remastered Version)

3. Chromatic Fantasy (Remastered Version)

4. Word Of Mouth (Remastered)

5. Three Views Of A Secret (Remastered)

6. John And Mary (Remastered)

7. Continuum (Remastered)

8. Liberty City (Birthday Concert Version Remastered)

9. Soul Intro/The Chicken (Birthday Concert Version Remastered)

10. Reza (Birthday Concert Version Remastered)

11. Happy Birthday (Remastered)

Disc 2

1. Punk Jazz (Remastered)

2. Amerika (Remastered)

3. Invitation (Live 1982) (Remastered)

4. Domingo (Remastered)

5. Sophisticated Lady (Remastered)

6. Fannie Mae (Remastered)

7. Eleven (Remastered)

8. Okonkole' Y Trompa (Remastered)

9. Nativity (Airto Moreira) (Remastered)

10. Mood Swings

11. Donna Lee (1976)


Track List: Jazz Street

1. No Slack

2. Jazz Street

3. Miles Mode

4. May Day

5. Wedding Waltz

6. Out of the Night

7. Drums of Yadzarah


Track List: Le Demi-Dieu De La Basse

2. 3 Views Of A Secret

3. Continuum

4. Liberty City

5. Blackbird

6. Invitation (live)

7. Word Of Mouth

8. Domingo

9. Sophisticated Lady

10. Fannie Mae

11. Crisis

12. Punk Jazz


Track List: Live In Italy

1. Improvisation, No. 1/Teen Town (Live)

2. I Shot The Sheriff (Live)

3. Continuum (Live)

4. Fannie Mae (Live)

5. Black Market (Live)

6. Satin Doll (Live)


Track List: Honestly (Solo Live)

1. Part 1

2. Part 2

3. Part 3

4. Part 4

5. Part 5

6. Part 6

7. Part 7

8. Part 8

9. Part 9

10. Part 10


Track List: Invitation

1. Invitation

2. Amerika

3. Soul Intro - The Chicken

4. Continuum

5. Liberty City

6. Sophisticated Lady

7. Reza - Giant Steps - Reza (Reprise)

8. Fannie Mae

9. Eleven


Track List: Word Of Mouth

1. Crisis

2. 3 Views Of A Secret

3. Liberty City

4. Chromatic Fantasy

5. Blackbird

6. Word Of Mouth

7. John And Mary


Track List: Jaco Pastorius

1. Donna Lee

2. Come On, Come Over

3. Continuum

4. Kuru/Speak Like A Child

5. Portrait Of Tracy

6. Opus Pocus

7. Okonkole Y Trompa

8. (Used To Be A) Cha Cha

9. Forgotten Love

10. (Used To Be A) Cha Cha (Previously Unreleased)

11. 6/4 Jam (Previously Unreleased)


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In the late 1960s, I moved to Ft. Lauderdale, where I sat in, as a B-3 keyboard player, with Jaco's dad, Jack. His father was a singer who played snare drum, standing up. His partner was a fine lounge player, Bill Repsher. Many times, while sitting in with them, Jaco, in his teens would come in. He would also sit in with Jack, Bill, and me (the name of the place, as I remember, was the "Moonraker Hotel and lounge). When I started playing at the Galt Ocean Mile Hotel, doing my own act, Jaco
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Enjoyed him ever time he was in Cleveland Oh The greatest ����
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Check your facts. According to Trujillos documentary he wasn't trying to break into the nightclub... . .
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Love Jaco's music and his influence on all of us musicians who strive to be half as good as he was. Sad to hear how he tragically lost his life. It would be cool to see what he would be playing today if still alive and jammin'. RIP
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What happened to Jack's music with Michel Colombier. Top flight jazz with nothing but great music and top notch players. Too bad Pandora doesn't do their homework. Pinheads,tha t is all. Peace and goodbye.
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I have wondered about Jack's end and it sounds like another musicians bad dream. I know what it is like. I loved jazz when I started playing bass at age 7 and never thought I would stop. I have now due to medical issues and theft of my favorite basses. Life is hard and I often think it is over. Que Sera Sera. Peace and say goodbye. Peace
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A troubled genus!!!
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There are some great facts in this synopsis of Jaco....howe v e r . . . o n e of the thee most relevant things that are stated in here in boldly incorrect and should be changed. Jaco Pastorious was not killed trying to break into that club. Jaco was angry because he was refused entry by an over zealous brute named Luc Haven. Because of this, Jaco got angry and kicked a glass door and broke it. Luc Haven then chased Jaco down (and this is supported by witnesses) and beat him into a coma where he then died
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lelfenbein! Thank you for knowing THE STUFF of what really should mean to any fan of the music by your short list! Jaco, like Monk, Bird, Baker......a n d on. Manic-Depres s i o n (bipolar DISORDER) are not diseases, We aren't contagious, just misunderstoo d . Most people don't realize that Hemingway suffered until he chose to not be a problem to his family and multitudes of close friends and cohorts who knew him as a giant among men Peace
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This song is ridiculous. It really sounds like everyone is trying like hell to keep with jaco... Wow.
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Jaco, thank you..I know you hear me!
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Your description in the bio is unfair and does not give him the credit that is due to a genius of his caliber. To say to only flamed out in the 80s is an injustice. He suffered from a form of bipolar disease. He has been more aptly described by William Banfield as one of the few original American virtuosos who defined a musical movement, alongside Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Bill Evans, Charles Mingus and Wes Montgomery.
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scottclausen 6
Just finished the documentary that Robert Trujillo and JPIV made and loved it. It really made me better understand music and also made me angry that such a great talent was taken away too soon.
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This with out a dought very tight he put the tighten in this. Go joco go.
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continuum and a remark you made you can feel how his hands made his bass of doom soar
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This prince of melodic power burst with 60 caliber range exercising type commanding awe strikingexci t i n g with coloring injecting heaven an helliyun, sometimes viser, versa performance, sound barrier forward Ness with all he got!# man many times have I toss my bass to the level beneath where my guts seem to lie. Then ran into jeff andrews,, o.m.g.!!! Here I go again! Another story another time. This was more personal. .... caliph, R.
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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.
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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.
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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
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♫ 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
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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.
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One of the finest solos' in Jaco's discography !!!! MISS HIM XXXOOO
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Like mokospoko said, fix the biography. Completely disrespectfu l to one of the greatest bassists ever to justify the homicidal bouncer.
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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$$ munch bouncer had to prove his pathetic life meant something so he took his authority as a free ticket to murder.
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Its just a matter of respect to get the story right. He wasn't trying to break into the club, he merely wanted to see the show and possibly jam. It was some punk a$$ 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
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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.
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No words...No words man...just listen.
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Get a life Richard S. Ginell. Certified - Julius Pastorius
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chasegilmore 7 1
What do I need so I can get his sound on my bass anybody know how?
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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.
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I would bet money that Jaco has a band in Heaven !!!! X
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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!
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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.
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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
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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.
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... Acted like there was something at stake
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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...
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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.
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Yes really
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He and Stanley Clarke were the towering influences on their instrument in the 1970s. Really, Mr. Ginell? What about Paul Jackson?
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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 . . . . .
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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....... . . . . . . . . .
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I still get goose bumps when I hear Portrait of Tracy.
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Too often genius collides with madness and its outcome is tragic. RIP, Jaco.
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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.
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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.
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New sound with each bar. Clean, smooth innovation and conferencing . Jaco is unconvention a l with a bit of rare seasoning.
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Jeff Berlin could be a distant second to Jaco. Pastorius is a legend in his own right. RIP.
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