Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jaco Pastorius (born as: John Francis Pastorius III, December 1, 1951–September 21, 1987) was a jazz bassist who is notable for popularizing the fretless electric bass. He was immensely talented; many have gone so far as to say he was the greatest electric bassist ever, and Pastorius's compositions and arrangements are also well regarded.
Pastorius was born in Pennsylvania, but soon moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he was raised. He played music throughout his youth, and in 1974, he began playing with his friend Pat Metheny. In 1976, he was invited to join fusion band Weather Report, where he played alongside Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter until 1981. His first solo album was released in 1976 to generally good reviews. He toured with his Word of Mouth Big Band from 1980 to 1984.
Pastorius also recorded some highly regarded albums with singer Joni Mitchell.
In the mid-1980s, Pastorius began to experience mental problems, symptoms of manic depression. These were worsened by heavy drug and alcohol use. His musical performances sometimes suffered as a result. He fell out of public favor and became an outcast in the music business. In 1987, he was beaten into a coma after an altercation with a bouncer at the Midnight Club in Fort Lauderdale. He suffered irreversible brain damage and died on September 21 of that year.
- Jaco (live) (1974, DIW)
- Jaco Pastorius (1976, Epic/Legacy)
- The Birthday Concert (live) (1981, Warner)
- Word of Mouth (1981, Warner)
- Invitation (live) (1983, Warner)
- PDB (1986, DIW)
- Live in Italy (1986, Jazzpoint)
- Jazz Street (1986, Timeless)
- Curtain Call (live) (1986, Another Hit)
- Portrait of Jaco, the Early Years (2002, HolidayParkRecords.com)
- Bill Milkowski; Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius, "The World's Greatest Bass Player"; Miller Freeman Books, San Francisco; ISBN 0-87930-361-1 (1st edition, hardcover, 1995)
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