Jaco Pastorius

A revolutionary bass player who died tragically young, Jaco Pastorius was a brilliant force of nature who transformed modern jazz and influenced the likes of Sting, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Earth, Wind & Fire. Raised in a poor family in Florida by a father who sang like Frank Sinatra, Pastorius started playing in rock bands at 13 before discovering a love of jazz. A self-taught virtuoso, he played in local R&B groups and studied and taught at the University of Miami, where he met Pat Metheny and later played on his album Bright Size Life (1976). Discovered by Blood, Sweat & Tears drummer Bobby Colomby and signed to Columbia, Pastorius' eponymous debut album featured appearances by Herbie Hancock, Sam & Dave and saxophonist Wayne Shorter; but he really made his name when he joined fusion rockers Weather Report from 1976-81. Famed for the unique sound of his fretless bass, he played on four of Joni Mitchell's albums and formed Trio of Doom before returning to solo work on the acclaimed Word Of Mouth (1981). Diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, his behaviour became increasingly erratic and he ended up living on the streets. By 1987 he was out of control and an altercation with a night club bouncer left him in a coma but after a few days he died, aged 35.

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