Happy Birthday Jaco Pastorius: Weather Report Live In 1978

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John Francis Anthony “Jaco” Pastorius III was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania on this date in 1951. The bassist went on to revolutionize the instrument both as part of his solo career and as a member of innovative jazz-fusion act Weather Report. In September 1978, Weather Report brought a European Tour to Germany and the band’s Offenbach gig was professionally filmed.

Weather Report’s lineup at the time of the Offenbach show found Jaco joined by keyboardist Joe Zawinul, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and drummer Pete Erskine. Pastorius shines throughout the show especially during his solo segment, on the classic “Birdland” and on the “Black Market” opener.

Here’s notes about the video below:

Previously unreleased recordings from pioneering fusion band Weather Report playing live in the 1970s are streaming from the late Joe Zawinul’s estate in the group’s 40th anniversary year. This spring’s 1975 Live in Berlin set caught the band beginning to sense its power over a rock audience. Live in Offenbach, from September 1978, features the band that included bass-guitar star Jaco Pastorius. It also included Peter Erskine, a shrewd drummer who helped reintroduce a cooler jazz feel after the critical hammering that had greeted the overcooked, studio-made Mr Gone earlier that year. Stripped down to a quartet, the band sound engaged (particularly the sometimes enigmatic saxist Wayne Shorter), and after the standard early workouts on their hits, they get surprisingly loose and open. Shorter exhibits Sonny Rollins’s muscular solo-sax whimsicality on the standard Thanks for the Memory, and Zawinul’s wealth of acoustic-piano improv ideas burst out of I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good, while Birdland has a bright, rough-and-ready energy. Pastorius’s driving basslines thunder through the music, even if his solo spots tend to emit more heat than light. It’s a vivid show from a WR period sometimes considered short of inspiration.

Watch the entire Weather Report concert from September 1978:

Setlist

Weather Report at Stadthalle

  • Black Market
  • Scarlet Woman
  • Young and Fine
  • The Pursuit of the Woman With the Feathered Hat
  • A Remark You Made
  • River People
  • Thanks for the Memory  
  • Bass Solo: Dolores / Portrait of Tracy / Third Stone From the Sun
  • Mr. Gone
  • In a Silent Way  
  • Waterfall
  • Teen Town
  • I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good / The Midnight Sun Will Never Set on You
  • Birdland
  • Fred & Jack
  • Elegant People
  • Badia / Boogie Woogie Waltz