Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I noticed the park a few years back, since it`s right around the corner from my house just a mile or so North on Dixie Hwy, made a mental note to stop by, bring a book or a CD that Jaco was playing on, but at the time I was still drinking, so I never made it there. But I thought before I leave for another year on the bike it was well worthy of a write up.

As it happens, alcohol and drug abuse was the how and why Jaco`s life ended like it did, a beating at the hands of a bouncer due to Jacos mood swings and  temper.

Jaco Pastorius,though born in PA moved to Oakland Park FL at a young age, and went to school in Wilton Manors where I live.
He, like myself, started out playing drums, but a wrist injury from a football accident left him unable to play.
At the time he was playing with a local band, The Las Olas Brass, and since the bass player decided to quit, bought a used bass guitar for $15 from a local pawn shop and began to learn to play the bass.
He went on to buying an upright bass, but soon realised the difficulties of maintining it down in the humid sandbox of Florida. After a crack developed in the body of the upright, he traded it for a  1960 Fender Jazz Bass.

My first introduction to JP was on a Joni Mitchell album,Don Juans Wreckless Daughter, and his unique technique and sound he managed to get from the bass were awesome.

Jacos signature growl was a combination of his playing style and his amplification.

This is one of my favorite tracks on the album that is so Jacko Pastorius.

Jaco was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and had shown numerous features of the condition long before the initial diagnosis. The condition in it`s earlier stages is likely to have contributed to his sucess as a musician, as Hypomania, the cyclical peaks that distuinguish bipolar disorder from unipolar depression, have been associated with enhanced creativity.

Early in his career Pastorius avoided both alcohol and drugs. It was during his time with the group Weather Report that they became a regular part of his life, ultimately exacerbating his already anti social behavior from his bi polar disorder.

A young Jaco outside their Oakland Park home in Florida with the Fender Jazz Bass.

During the course of his musical career, Pastorius played on dozens of recording sessions for other musicans both in and out of jazz circles.
Some of his most notable are four highly regarded albums with Joni Mitchell, Hejira(1976), Don Juans Reckless Daughter(1977), Mingus(1979) and the live album Shadows and Light(1980).

He also recieved acclaim for the Weather Report album Heavy Weather, one of the most popular jazz albums of all time. Not only did this album showcase Jacos bass playing and songwriting, he also recieved a co-producing credit and even played drums on his self-composed "Teen Town".
Pastorius was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz hall of Fame in 1988, one of only four bassists to be so honored, and the only electric bassist.
He is regarded as one of the most influential bass players of all time.

After sneaking onstage at a Carlos Santos concert in `87 and being ejected from the premises, he made his way to the Midnight Bottle Club in Wilton Manors, Florida.
After reportedly kicking in a glass door after being refused admittance, he was engaged in a violent confrontation with the club bouncer, Luc Haven, after which he was hospitalized and fell into a coma.
A massive brain hemorrhage a few days later led to brain death.

Jaco Pastorius died on September 21st, 1987, at Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.
He was 35.



Anonymous said...

Murph - who do you think that photo of Jaco In Oakland Park looks like?

Winkey said...

Beautiful,Murph! Thanks for the heart warming look into Jaco's life.

Stephen Hodges said...

I was playing in a band (bass and guitar) and was listening to Jaco when he was playing with Joni and Heavy Weather. His solo album kicks butt. I never knew how he died until today. Poor truly sad.

Love your blog and your trip. I get it. Many blessings, and fair winds to ye, lad. Next time you blow through Apalachicola or Tallahassee, let us know.

IRISH Murph said...

Yea, I know Mandy.

IRISH Murph said...

Hi Winky and thanks.

Looking back now it was one of my favorite articles to research and write. 35, sad.

IRISH Murph said...

Hi Stephen and thanks for stopping by and commenting. It was sad indeed.

I'd love to return to Apalachicola, I enjoyed my overnighter there :