September 21

R.I.P. John Francis (Jaco) Pastorius III.

28 years ago today Jaco Pastorius died from a brain hemorrhage he received as a result of a bar brawl near Fort Lauderdale Florida.

I had never heard of  Pastorius as a solo artist, as a member of Weather Report, or as a band leader. I became familiar with his playing through Joni Mitchell. Specifically the albums is Hejira and Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter:

I had become a Joni Mitchell fan through Woodstock and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I backed into this period of her music accidentally.

From the opening lines of Coyote on the Hejira album it was clear that something different was about to happen. Pastorius was not a member of the rhythm section or miming the low end of the beat… he played lead bass!

The best thing about these Joni Mitchell albums with Jaco Pastorius on bass is how out front his playing is. You know when you hear a lead singer, you know when you hear a lead guitar, but lead base was a new experience for me.

I don’t think I have ever heard and electric fretless bass before and found the sound Jaco coaxed from his instrument was fascinating and mesmerizing.

So thank you Jaco. And thank you Joni for the introduction.

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