On September 21, 1987, Jaco Pastorius – the hugely influential electric bassist – died at the age of 35.
He rose to prominence with the band Weather Report and became an A-list session musician... until mental illness and substance abuse combined to destroy his life.
I’m very tardy with this. But on the 20th anniversary of his death, NPR’s Michele Norris aired a splendid piece about Jaco on “All Things Considered.” It includes frank recollections from modern-jazz heavyweights Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and Marcus Miller... as well as the voice of Jaco Pastorius himself.
I’m streaming an excerpt of that NPR piece here. (You can listen to the complete 8-minute segment by following this link to NPR’s website.)
I’m also streaming Joni Mitchell’s 1979 vocalese version of the Charles Mingus classic “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.” It showcases Mr. Pastorius (along with his Weather Report colleague Wayne Shorter on soprano sax).
“Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” is available on the Jaco Pastorius double-CD anthology “Punk Jazz.” The track is also downloadable from iTunes.