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Jaco Pastorius

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Norristown PA, United States (1951 – 1987)

John Francis Anthony “Jaco” Pastorius III (1951–1987) was a U.S. jazz musician and composer widely acknowledged for his skills as an electric bass player, as well as his command of varied musical styles including jazz, jazz fusion, funk, and jazz-funk.

His playing style was noteworthy for containing intricate solos in the higher register. His innovations also included the use of harmonics and the “singing” quality of his melodies on fretless bass. He was inducted into Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, one of only four bassists to be so honoured (the others being Charles Mingus, Milt Hinton, and Ray Brown), and the only electric bassist to receive this distinction.

Jaco was born on 1st December 1951 in Norristown, Pennsylvania to John Francis Pastorius II and Stephanie Katherine Haapala Pastorius, the first of their three children. Pastorius was of Finnish, German, and Irish ancestry.

Pastorius formed his first band named The Sonics along with John Caputo and Dean Noel. He went to high school at Northeast High in Oakland Park. He was a talented athlete with skills in football, basketball, and baseball, and he picked up music at an early age. He took the name “Anthony” at his confirmation.

He loved basketball and often watched it with his father. Pastorius’ nickname was influenced by his love of sports and also by the umpire Jocko Conlan.

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