January: Jaco Pastorius

John Francis Anthony

"Jaco" Pastorius

December 1, 1951 – September 21, 1987)

He was an American jazz bass guitarist who was a member of Weather Report from 1976 to 1981. He worked with Pat MethenyJoni Mitchell, and recorded albums as a solo artist and band leader.


He was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, one of only seven bassists so honored (and the only electric bass guitarist).


Jaco Pastorius, the man who revolutionized how the bass guitar is played and who is, for many, the best and most influential bass guitarist ever, didn’t start his musical life on the instrument. Instead, the man who would be the master of the fretless electric bass was a drummer.


A drummer, just like his dad, Jack Pastorius, a big band player and singer.

Jaco Pastorius received two Grammy Award nominations in 1977 for his self-titled debut album: one for Best Jazz Performance by a Group and one for Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist ("Donna Lee")


In 1978, he received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist for his work on Weather Report's album Heavy Weather

Listen to some of his work here