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Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Gabu, Jan 30, 2001.
Who in the world is this Jako I keep seeing come up?
Oh, he was this beach bum in Florida who thought he was pretty good, picked up a bass, some people thought he was pretty good, then he did drugs and died.
Seriously, (assuming you are), just type the name "Jaco Pastorious" into a search engine and check out your hits. (Ignore "Jim Pastorious"). The profile of this brilliant musician is too lengthy for me do honor to him here.
Better yet, listening is the best way to know who he was.
[Edited by rickbass1 on 01-30-2001 at 04:17 PM]
This shows up one of the big contradictions of our age. we have this huge source of knowledge in the internet and people think - I'll never need to study again - just look anything up I need to know on the internet.
Forgetting of course that you actually need to be able to spell to start with and it does take a fair amount of skill in the area of research and information management to get anything out of it. It's like saying to someone - you don't need librarians or classification systems - all the books are in that big building over there - just go find them, what's your problem!
I can remember doing my degree when we didn't have the internet and the vast majority of the actual work was just finding what material you needed - which might take months. Once you had all that material in front of you, writing the essay or dissertation was pretty easy and quick - usually overnight!
I'm not criticising RickBass here - there is too much to put in one post and the best advice is probably to read the Milkowski biography - although some people find it flawed.
But internet searches are actually useless unless you know something about the subject already. It's like if you have no idea how to spell a word, then where do you look in a dictionary? With any musician - you will usually get 5,000 hits for commercial sites trying to sell you recordings which tell you nothing other than the price is $10.99 for that CD.
In short, Jako -> Jaco Pastorious -> <U>Jaco Pastorius</U> was the world's best bass player - not only did a lot of people think so, he thought so himself. All his massive talent went to waste because of mental illness, which indirectly killed him in 1987 (although his soul was pretty much dead already). He didn't live to his 36th birthday.
Now, with the correct spelling, search the Internet.
Now, with the correct spelling, search the Internet. [/B][/QUOTE]
Oysterman - I tried both spellings a while back, and oddly enough, using HotBot, I got MORE quality hits using the incorrect spelling for some reason. Using the "ious" spelling got me hip to Milkowski's biography because that hit showed up on the first page, but not with the "ius" spelling." Also, it brought up hits where the spelling was correct. When I used, "ius," it brought up the, "ous's" too. Go figure
Bruce-I just think advising someone who is already online to hop over to a search engine is just more realistic than telling them to get in their car and go to a bookstore or the library.
[Edited by rickbass1 on 02-01-2001 at 11:02 AM]
me only being born in 1987 when he died, i have never heard of him until now. so wot band was he in or was he solo? but either way could you give me some kinda hint so I can get some of his stuff on napster. thanx
You could listen to some stuff he did with Weather Report (I think that's what he's best known for):
"Havona", "Birdland", "Palladium", "Port Of Entry", "Black Market", and others...
A search under the name "Jaco Pastorius" will hopefully bring up some tunes from his solo discs.
http://www.allmusic.com could probably help you with which records he appears on.
[Edited by Oysterman on 02-12-2001 at 12:33 PM]
Okay, I'll take a stab at this. Note that this is all from memory, as I haven't read the bio in well over 4 years. Please feel free to proof this because some of the names and dates may definitely be off! Thanks!
John "Jaco" Pastorius.
Grew up in Florida, the son of a musician (his father). His father was a singer who was rarely home and was addicted to alcohol. Seeing the effects of alcoholism, Jaco and his brother swore it off for the rest of their lives.
Jaco started playing drums. He played in a band in school until he broke his wrist playing football. He said that he was never able to get back full power in hitting the snare, and when the band needed a bass player (if memory serves, the original bass player graduated school), Jaco stepped in. His father encouraged Jaco's musical development. Jaco's focus on the instrument was supposed to be intense. This is the part of Jaco that usually goes unmentioned. The man practiced religiously. He played for hours and hours everyday. Most people just talk of him being legendary, but rarely acknowledge that much of his skills were very hard earned.
He started to make a name for himself locally, and soon signed to a local touring band. I can't remember the name of the band, or the genre, but many people who knew him at this time claimed that this is when he was at his best. Incidentally, he was mentally healthy, clean and sober, and practiced religiously at this time. Hmmm, any corrolation? Might this be piognant?
He continued to develop his technique on bass guitar. On point of emphasis in his studies was melody. He approached bass as a musical instrument, capable of creating music, not just as a bass, intended to provide the bottom. His continuous practice, along with natural ability, enhanced his ability to play fast. He developed his 16-note funk skills. He also pushed the instruments to further bounds, playing false harmonics, and later playing with distortion and effects, a la Hendrix.
With the financial legs, and producing skills (I think), of Herbie Hancock, Jaco presented a self-titled album in 75. This is the quintessential Jaco album. He plays a version of Charlie Parker/Miles Davis' "Donna Lee" with only conga accompaniement. His use of harmonics is introduced as well as his amazing speed in executing 16th note melodies and rhythms. We see he came play funk on "Come On Come Over," with vocals by Sam & Dave. Also, "Portrait of Tracy," (an ode to his first wife), really introduces melodies and false harmonics on bass guitar that had never really been heard. This album pushed the bass guitar so far forward, it's effects are still being heard everyday in new bass players. Many feel that this album was to bass guitar what Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" was to modal jazz.
Jaco used this self-titled album as his audition to the jazz fushion band "Weather Report." (Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Peter Erksine). He played sparingly on the album "Black Market," and then took over full-time (replacing Alphonso Johnson), for the next several albums. Jaco's on-stage theatrics (dancings, sliding across a flour covered stage, flips, etc.) became as legendary as his playing. He continued to stretch bass guitar and jazz music with his ever-creative use of melody, while still holding down the rhythm. His technical prowess was never questioned.
Jaco also did some session work. His interest in writing and arranging began with his first band, and he continued to refine his skills. He is a far better composer than he is ever given credit for. He played on several tracks for two of Joni Mitchell's albums, "Mingus" and "Hejira." Jaco's discography is far too vast to list here.
From here is where Jaco came into drugs and alcohol, and it can be similary stated that his life, and skills, went south. This is an old story, and does not need to be rehashed for another star.
Jaco did move on from Weather Report to front his own fushion band, "Word of Mouth." Peter Erksine followed. A "Word of Mouth" album exists, as does a live album, "The Birthday Concert." Jaco began also to delve into free jazz with some of Word of Mouth's recordings.
Incidentally, he also made an instructional video. It should be noted that this was made late in his life, at the time he was mentally and physically very very ill. His skills are not what they were, he even forgets songs on the video, but he is still amazing. One can definitely learn from the video, but it's also a sad testament to a life cut far too short.
Jaco died due to injuries received from a fight with a club's doorman/bouncer that started because of Jaco's drug problems. He was 35.
Check out http://www.jacopastorius.com for the full discography.
A good selection, to start, might include:
Jaco Pastorius - self-titled
Black Market - Weather Report
Heavey Weather - Weather Report
Weather Report - Weather Report
8:15 - Weather Report
Hejira - Joni Mitchell
Mingus - Joni Mitchell
Word of Mouth - Word of Mouth
I apologize for any innaccuracies in my brief recount of his life.
[Edited by jazzbo on 02-12-2001 at 01:18 PM]
...geez; Jazzbo, whadda guy!
Another site to check out-
Tom Stroud's "Jaco site" is possibly the best Jaco site on the web(I think it's now the oldest, anyway). I've forgotten the exact URL...
I'm eagerly awaiting Dixie Highway
...BRING IT ON, Bob Bobbings!
Reminds me of a funny ass story my nephiew did!He was like 16 and had all these really cool gratefull dead stickers and stuff then we was driving around and then a dead song came on and he said what is this crappy country ****?So i took him out in a field and shot him in the head!
I just noticed that I spelled fusion "fushion" twice in that post. Oops.
While we're at it, you also misspelled "Heavy Weather" and the name of the record is "8:30"...
What's going on with me? Sorry about 8:30, I was a little early on that one.
I spell it "futon"
only because i haven't seen any flames it the new Talk Bass.
who's better Fieldy or Jaco?
Obviously Fieldy. That's an easy one!
he didnt die of drugs, he died because some bouncer beat the sh*t out of him and left him to die in a gutter in Miami beach.
Actually, Spearhead, Jaco died in Ft Lauderdale Beach, not Miami Beach. And while he didn't die from drug use directly, it certainly did contribute to his demise. There are those who theorize that Jaco was manic-depressive, and attempted to "treat" himself through alcohol and drug abuse. A close friend of mine studied with Jaco for several years before he "hit the bigtime", and knew him very well. He said that watching Jaco slide down was easily the saddest experience of his life. For more insight than jazzbo's excellent post, check out Bill Milkowski's biography of Jaco.
The saddest and most tragic part of the whole story is that Luc Havan, the @$$hole that beat Jaco to death never spent a single night in jail for doing so. He must have been a real tough guy, studied martial arts all his life, and managed to beat to death a small drunken man who was most certainly unable to defend himself, although he was capable of being pretty obnoxious from the reports of his late life. If there is a hell, may Luc Havan rot there for eternity.
Hey Gard, thought you disappeared. Have you gotten that electric upright yet?