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Jaco Pastorius, born John Francis Pastorius III (December 1, 1951- September 21, 1987) was a jazz bassist and composer, notable for his virtuoso technique and playing style. He is considered by some to be one of the greatest jazz-fusion fretless bass guitarists to have ever lived.

His big influence on the modern electric bass is widely touted, as he was responsible for the invention and popularisation of fretless electric bass. He introduced a textural approach and harmonic sense to bass playing that became the signature “Jaco” sound. In particular, using the bridge pick up and a tone more focused on the mid-range, developing and expanding on artificial and natural harmonics, and his patented sixteenth note grooves and hornlike phrasing. It is easy to hear Jaco’s profound influence on modern bassists in players as varied as Victor Wooten, Flea, Marcus Miller, and John Patitucci.

Jaco was also one of the members of the influential 70’s jazz group Weather Report, spending 6 years in company of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, marking these band years with compositions that became landmarks of modern Jazz such as: “Birdland”, “A Remark You Made” and “Teen Town”.

He suffered from alcohol and drug abuse and anecdotal evidence suggests that he was an undiagnosed schizophrenic. The last few years of his life were terribly painful as he spiraled downward, unable to sustain work and frequently finding himself homeless. His self-destructive progression came to a tragic end when, on September 11, 1987, he was brutally beaten after an altercation with the manager of a night club in Wilton Manors, Florida. Pastorius went into a coma and sustained irreversible brain damage. After life support was removed, his heart continued to beat for three hours. Pastorius died on September 21, 1987, at the age of 35, at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Edited by Pstewart1 on 17 Jan 2008, 03:21

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Formed in
  • 1951
Split in
  • 1987
Founded in
  • Norristown, Pennsylvania

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