I want to tell you a story about Jaco, Jaco Pastorius. It's not a bad story about him, it's a good one. It's funny because everyone seems to want to write negative stories about Jaco. Even his biography was all negative stuff like how Jaco went crazy and destroyed his bass by throwing it in a swimming pool. Or stories like he stole a bicycle and rode it through a hotel lobby and the police were called. Everywhere I read about Jaco it is about negative stuff, so here is my little memory of Jaco.
I was doing my album "Identity" with Flora as the producer. We had finished recording all of my music and mixed it at Paramount Studios. Then Terry McNab the sound engineer called and said it was too short! He said that we had not recorded enough material, and had to have at least five more minutes.
Now you have to remember this is before CDs. It was for a record and it had to be at least 40 minutes. As we only have 35 minutes the record company would not accept this as an album.
So Flora came up with the idea, "Let's call Jaco! You can do something with him."
I kind of argued about it.
"What! Just to have him play five minutes? I don't know if I can call him to just play five minutes." I was thinking all kinds of stuff, like what if he says he wants to play more, or wanted more money. I was worried about it, even though we were friends.
So Flora called him. She was the producer so she made the call.
Anyway, he said yes and we all met in a recording studio, totally cold, with no rehearsals.
"Ok! What is the song we're going to do?" Jaco asked.
"Oh! I don't know, we're just going to play" I told him.
"OK great! We're just going to jam. So go! Roll tape!" and he started playing and doing his thing. So I started and did my thing. We just let loose and played some great stuff. He was just fantastic! We stretched it out and played and played, then "Boom" we finished. I looked at him and he looked at me, and we knew it was the ending.
"Yeah! That's it! Let's go take a listen." Jaco said
So we went into the engineer's booth to listen to it. I got to tell you it was really out of this world, but there was something else that I found really interesting. It was exactly five minutes long. Exactly
We couldn't stop laughing about it. All of us kept saying that it wasn't possible. We just couldn't believe it.
It was called "Nativity" which is about where Jesus was born. Jaco had said to call it "Nativity" and this was at a time when my English was not so good, so I just said "OK" not really knowing what it meant.
So that is my little story about Jaco.