I recently had the opportunity to watch Jaco, a 2015 documentary about Jaco Pastorius, and I cannot recommend it enough.
I remember the summer after I graduated high school I was working at my dad’s law firm, like I always did in the summers, and one of my coworkers, a bass player, introduced me to Jaco. I was listening to a lot of jazz and was a snob, so the fact that I hadn’t heard the name before made me immediately skeptical. I was impressed and liked the music upon first impression, but it wasn’t a revelation. Over the following months though, Jaco’s world, 1970’s jazz and funk, started to open up for me, and there’s still a lot of music from that time that I am fascinated with, as well music from that time I haven’t discovered yet.
And Jaco really is at the center of that stuff for me. What the film did was add so many other aspects of his persona that I loved learning about. Some of these include the role that Florida and the Florida music scene played in his life, stories and video footage of he and his family together, and the wide variety of genres and styles he liked and moved between (something that I talk about and think about often, as you may know if you’ve read the blog before). All of these things and several others parts of the movie had a strong effect on me, and, thanks to a weekend off and a patient girlfriend, I watched parts of the movie, as well as the extra interviews and clips, over and over again.
To this day I listen to Weather Report pretty regularly, and I remember listening to Jaco’s Word of Mouth album constantly for at least a year while I was in college, but watching the documentary Jaco reinvigorated my interest and love of Jaco’s music and the music being made during his time to a higher level than it’s been in a while. It also got me into Joni Mitchell’s work with Jaco, which I’m deep into now, but that will have to wait for another post!
Perhaps most importantly, I felt that the movie is a very poignant story about who the guy was as a person, and that might be the part that stays with me the longest.
Anyway, check it out if you get the chance!