Jaco Pastorius has been called “The World’s Greatest Bass Player”. He revolutionized the way we think about and play the modern electric bass.

On August 12th at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Vince Mendoza has assembled a who’s who of legendary musicians to celebrate Jaco and his music.

I had a chance to chat with Wayne Shorter and Peter Erskine before the big night.

The Year of Jaco

Peter Erskine recalled meeting Jaco for the first time in-between sets while playing with Maynard Ferguson in 1977. He said to me “Hey man, have fun”. On Pastorius’ recommendation Erskine got the call to join Weather Report in 1978.

During a recording session for Weather Report’s 1978 album “Mr. Gone”, Erskine was getting his drum sounds just right for the Wayne Shorter penned “Pinocchio”. Not thinking what he was playing was being recorded or going to be used, he went back into the control room and to everyone's pleasure they enjoyed what he had done over the track. Jaco remarked that he was initiated into the group the same way. “They call me FTP. First Take Pastorius”. “Playing with Jaco was fun and easy” remembers Erskine.

“I’m the Baddest Bass Player in the World”

“[Weather Report] were playing somewhere in Florida and we’d heard about this bass player named Jaco Pastorius” says Wayne Shorter

“After we finished playing, we were walking back to our bus and this guy was behind us and he said I’m Jaco Pastorius and I heard you’ve been looking for me. I’m the baddest bass player in the world and we liked that.”

Shorter remarks “Jaco made other bass players take notice, that the bass player isn’t just a time-keeper”.

The Wayne Shorter Quartet will kick off the evening with a set from his group that features Danilo Perez on Piano, John Patitucci on Bass and Brian Blade on Drums.

“We don’t exactly know what we’re going to do, we like to challenge ourselves by jumping into the unknown. How do you rehearse the unknown?”

Mr. Shorter closes our conversation with this: “A person’s music is only a fraction of the human being anyway”

Wednesday night is certainly going to be a treat for music fans and Jazz lovers. It’s an astonishing lineup they’ve put together to help celebrate a man that not only changed the face of bass playing but truly left his mark on the world with his unprecedented compositions.

Head over to The Hollywood Bowl's website where you can still purchase tickets.