Happy Birthday Jaco Pastorius: Isolated Bass On ‘Domingo’ In 1981

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Today would have been renowned bassist Jaco Pastorius’ 65th birthday. The virtuoso master of his instrument was only 35 years old when he tragically died on September 21, 1987 but his innovative style and singular tone remain among the pinnacle of electric bass playing.

Pastorius is highly regarded for his contributions while a member of the jazz fusion group Weather Report alongside such greats of the genre Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. His flowing, melodic approach and groundbreaking fretless electric bass performances helped solidify Jaco as a true iconoclast of the instrument.

Health and addiction issues hampered Pastorius throughout his short-lived recording and performing career that included notable stints supporting Joni Mitchell, Ian Hunter, Al Di Meola, Pat Metheny and others. Pastorius enlisted a number of noteworthy musicians for a birthday celebration concert held exactly 35 years ago today.

That night at Mr. Pip’s in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida featured drummer Peter Erskine, the 15+ member Peter Graves Orchestra, percussionist Don Alias and saxophonist Michael Brecker, along with several other skilled musicians. The concert showcased Pastorius on his original “Domingo” and below is that performance with Jaco’s bass part isolated, give it a listen here:

Erskine reportedly shared this information about the isolated track:

On a whim, I asked mix engineer James Farber to run a quick mix (at the end of the 2nd long day of mixing) if Jaco’s bass: one channel direct and one channel bass amp mic (for sound as well as for hearing some of the band for reference)…kept the DAT tape, so glad that Warners Japan contacted me to see if I had any unreleased Jaco solos, etc. Stay tuned, Jaco and Weather Report fans: a 4 CD compilation of board tape magic has been prepared for release by Sony Legacy, recorded during some of the tours I did with Weather Report (both quartet and quintet recordings, including some more Jaco solo performances).

Here’s the recording as it was originally released for reference: