Jaco Pastorius: Age 35 | Cause Of Death: BRAWLING/ BEATING

John Francis Pastorius

(b.1 December 1951, Norristown, PA d. 21 September 1987 Fort Lauderdale, FL)

See: Jaco : The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius : ‘the World’s Greatest Bass Player

Encouraged by his father, a drummer and vocalist, to pursue a career in music, Pastorius learned to play bass, drums, guitar, piano, and saxophone while in his teens. As a result of a football injury to his arm, his ambitions were mainly orientated towards the drums, but he soon found work playing bass for visiting pop and soul acts. After backing the Temptations and the Supremes, he developed a cult following, and his reputation spread. In 1975, Bobby Colomby, drummer with Blood, Sweat And Tears, was impressed enough to arrange the recording of Pastorius’ first album, and a year later Pat Metheny asked him to play bass on his own first album for ECM Records. But the most important stage in Pastorius’ career came in 1976: joining Weather Report to record the highly influential HEAVY WEATHER, his astonishing technique on the fretless bass and his flamboyant behaviour on stage consolidated the band’s popularity and boosted his own image to star status. He established his own band, Word Of Mouth, in 1980, and they enjoyed three years of successful tours, while Pastorius himself recorded intermittently with some of the top musicians in jazz. However, Pastorius suffered from alcoholism and manic depression. In 1987, after increasing bouts of in activity, he suffered fatal injuries in a brawl outside the Midnight Club in his home town of Fort Lauderdale.   Pastorius was one of the most influential bass players since Charles Mingus, and extended the possibilities of the electric bass as a melodic instrument in a way which has affected many bassists since.