Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jaco Pastorius Finds New Sneakers

The beauty that went on inside Jaco's head never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I heard Jaco play a song his presence was always so strong. He didn't have to overplay or overpower a song to make that presence known either.

I only got to see Jaco play in a group setting 2 times, once with Weather Report in 1977 or 1978 when they played in Virginia Beach and the second time in Forest Hills stadium when Jaco was the leader of Joni Mitchell's Band. Both times were amazing! Up to that point the best electric bass player I'd ever seen was Stanley Clarke, but Jaco had so many more sophisticated harmonies going on and to me his sense of "space" was perfect.

It was in the early 80's that I got to meet Jaco at the 55 Bar where he came down to hear his friend Mike Stern play. I had taken a few lessons on guitar from Mike's wife Leni. Jaco was a Greenwich Village regular and so I met him on numerous occasions just stopping to chat here and there.

One day as I was walking into Tower Records near NYU and there was Jaco yelling at the employees of Tower and saying "You people should be giving me these records, I'm the greatest musician in the world" I could see the employees were kind of intimidated and so I walked up to Jaco and said "hey Jaco what's wrong?" he just turned to me and winked and smiled and said "You know me" - Yeah, Jaco was just trying to get a charge out of these people and nothing more. He was just being playful and didn't mean any harm at all. He asked me where I was headed and I said that my car was about 10 blocks away, because I couldn't find a parking place any closer, he said "well hop in my cab".

Jaco had a cab sitting outside of Tower while he went in there, as we started to walk to the car he looked into this garbage can and saw these old Ked style canvas sneakers with huge holes in the tops and said "hey I could use a new pair of sneakers" and took them out of the garbage. Jaco was such a funny guy. He was always zany and just a one of a kind person. Now who could forget a guy like that!

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