BEST LOCAL BAND/MuSICian OF ALL TIME Jaco Pastorius Jaco, they called him. In jazz circles it's a show of respect to call a musician by his first name. "Jaco" universally refers to the greatest bass player the world has ever heard. He completely revolutionized not just the bass, or even jazz, but also the entire musical landscape. In the liner notes to the 2000 reissue of Jaco's eponymous debut, guitar virtuoso Pat Metheny wrote, "Jaco used his own experiences filtered through an almost unbelievable originality, informed by a musicianship as audacious as it was expansive, to manifest into sound, through improvisation, a musical reality that illuminated his individuality. Besides all that, he simply played his ass off -- in a way that was totally unprecedented on his instrument, or on ANY instrument." Jaco was known to have a prodigious ego. He wouldn't hesitate to introduce himself by saying, "I'm Jaco Pastorius, the greatest bass player in the universe." That was how he introduced himself to Earth, Wind & Fire after a show. "The hell of it," said one musician, "is that he's right." In the end, his life took a turn, and it was not uncommon for the man who invented the fretless bass to be walking the streets drunk, even pawning his instrument to pay for alcohol. He met his death after an altercation with a bouncer. His music lives on.
Recommended For You
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!