March 21, 1998 : A Conversation with Ingrid Pastorius - Jaco's widow
Many of you know bass player extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius through his work with the legendary jazz band Weather Report, or from his solo work. Or perhaps, like me, you're familiar with him only from his work with Joni on the four albums on which he played bass - Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Mingus and the double live album, Shadows and Light.
Pearl Weisberg presented me with the opportunity to speak to Ingrid, Jaco's widow, after they met at a yard sale in Florida, and I was intrigued with the idea. Ingrid agreed to a conversation with only two days notice, so I did some quick research and found a few bits of information on the Web; I also asked Internet friends Sue, Les and Simon for any Jaco info they had. I was told that there's a book called Jaco by Bill Milkowski, but was unable to find a copy in time for the interview.
I did find some bio info on Jaco - Born December 1, 1951 in Norristown, parents moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1959; began playing drums at age eleven; and so on. With this info on hand, I telephoned Ingrid on a Saturday morning last spring. She turned out to be a sweet and thoughtful woman, who disarmed me with her honesty.
Technical difficulties prevented the first five minutes of our talk from being recorded on tape (we'll just call it Wallygate), so we begin here with Ingrid and I discussing the fact that Jaco's first instrument was drums, and that he didn't turn to the bass until after an injury to his arm when he was a teenager.
IP: It's pretty awesome when you think about what happened, you know, as history unfolds itself to think that he became sort of a front runner. He revolutionized the bass, not really planning for this to be. He was a drummer at heart.
WB: That could very well be why he approached things the way that he did.
WB: Now you said he had this accident when he was 15?
IP: I think he was more around 16. He was playing football.
WB: Was it someone else in a band he was playing in that suggested he try the bass?
IP: Yes. Actually a drummer came into town who definitely was more qualified. At least the rest of band felt that he was. He actually moved right into our neighborhood in Ft. Lauderdale. So then Jaco gravitated to the bass.
WB: Are you still in the Ft. Lauderdale area?
IP: Yes. In the house that Jaco bought for me - his second family.
WB: So you've been there almost 20 years.
IP: Yes. Exactly.
WB: When Jaco was 20, I understand he joined Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders which was a very big move for him and a very happy time in his life. Did he talk much about that?
IP: Yes. It was a really good time for him. He'd had a baby by then. Mary was born when he was 19 and it was good, steady work. He went on the road with Wayne's band and he took his family. He was very family oriented. He met some great friends that lasted through the years. Some of the musicians who actually played with him on his Word of Mouth band were some of the guys he met way back then.
WB: Yeah, I read somewhere that Jaco said that after '69' or '70 he didn't really have any time to listen to music - to listen to the radio or to new records because he was busy making a living supporting the family.
IP: Right. He did have some specific stuff that he listened to. He listened a lot to Miles Davis and Gil Evans' "Porgy and Bess." I think one of the things that he liked to listen to and that he took on the road was actually an old Wayne Cochran tape he had recorded when he was in the band - some live thing. It was very funny. But, he was limited in what he listened to. It's true. Mostly classical.
WB: Oh really?
IP: Yeah, if he found the time to listen to music for himself.
WB: I read that he began teaching part-time at the University of Miami in 1973. Did he teach bass?
IP: Yes. He did.
WB: And was this to make money for the family?
IP: Whatever he did, musically or work-wise at the time was for the purpose of supporting his family. Both he and his first wife came from a very poor background. Not necessarily that his mother Stephanie was poor, but she was a single parent with three sons. The father left. They split up. They never divorced. They were living in Philadelphia at the time and the father stayed there and Jaco's mother moved down To Ft. Lauderdale with the three boys.
WB: So the separation happened when he was like eight?
IP: Seven or eight. But with regard to the teaching I think he was just offered the opportunity. Jaco never went to college or attended a university and then they gave him the opportunity to teach at the University of Miami. I think it was just a great experience all the way around. He met a few people who later on became musicans like Hiram Bullock, you know, and Will Lee and people like that.
WB: How long did he teach?
IP: I think it was just one semester of one school year.
WB: Was he performing at the same time and working as a musician?
IP: He would take gigs around town. There was a while that we had a club here called "Bachelor's III" that was owned by Joe Namath, the football player. Namath was one of the Bachelors. (Laughter)
WB: Bachelor. That's an old term. You don't hear that much anymore.
IP: (Laughing) No. I think Jaco was involved in the house band. He was also in demand when people came into town to perform and they would ask him to play. I think he also had some students. Jaco was a hard worker.
WB: He recorded a solo album after that.
IP: He was in the middle of recording and that whole process of the solo album.
WB: What was the name of that first album?
IP: It was actually called just Jaco Pastorius.
WB: Is it still in print?
IP: Yes. It was reissued after his death. They put it out on CD.
WB: And he also recorded an album with Pat Metheny, whom he actually worked with again later on.
IP: Bright Size Life. Yeah.
WB: And then in 1975, he worked on a couple of tracks on a Weather Report album after their bass player quit. Those tracks were so wildly popular that he was asked to join Weather Report as a permanent member in 1976. Am I correct?
IP: That's right. What happened was that Weather Report was in town and actually Jaco was in the process of recording his first album. It was still unreleased. He had it on cassette from the recording sessions. Somebody in Weather Report needed some equipment and they were referred to Jaco, so he was contacted and that's how he met Joe and the rest of the members of the band. Jaco sort of cornered Joe after the gig and wanted to play him his tape which Joe let him do and I think he was very impressed. As a matter of fact, I think it was the first time he heard Jaco or anybody, I guess, play fretless - he heard it on that tape. He thought Jaco played the upright. So, he asked Jaco if he could play electric bass and Jaco said, "Yeah!"
WB: (Much laughter)
IP: So, I think Jaco continued his process with his solo album and in the meantime, Joe was doing, I think, the album Black Market and asked Jaco to play on it. Jaco was a natural business man and he said, "Well, as long as I can do one tune of mine on it."
WB: Oh great!
IP: And so they did "Barbary Coast."
WB: And that's supposed to be a really wonderful cut. I was reading about that.
IP: People don't really talk about it as much, but I happen to really love it. And then the next album that Jaco played on was Heavy Weather which went gold, which is the only album that ever went gold for Weather Report - or at least as long as they were a jazz band.
WB: Well jazz is not that popular in America, unfortunately.
WB: That must have been a dream come true for Jaco to join Weather Report.
IP: I guess so. You know when you say things like "dream come true," I don't see Jaco having that experience. He was someone who just went for it.
WB: He was very bold.
IP: Yes. He was very driven by necessity whether it was supporting a family or whatever. By then, John was born, so he had a second child and Tracy was a homemaker, which was how he wanted it.
WB: Tracy was his first wife?
WB: And when was their second child born?
IP: Let's see. Mary was born in 1970 and John was born in 1973.
WB: Now you're not in the picture yet, I would guess....
IP: Well, he claimed he had seen me. I used to be a flight attendant with the airlines.
WB: Which one?
IP: Eastern. And, I was based out of Miami so, after we met he claimed had seen me on a flight to New York. I used to do the Ft. Lauderdale to New York flights a lot.
WB: But you don't remember that? Don't you think you would have?
IP: That's exactly what I said. I think I would have remembered him.
WB: Yeah. Since Jaco had such a distinctive look with his long hair and everything.
IP: Besides his look, it was definitely also his way.
WB: Now I understand that somebody played Jaco's first album for Joni Mitchell and she loved it so much that she called him. He was in Florida at the time. And she asked him to come out to LA and play bass on her album Hejira.
WB: The album was actually already finished at that time. And then Jaco came out and added bass on four tracks. What did he have to say about his first encounter with Joni?
IP: I think his whole meeting and experience with Joni was a totally positive experience. I mean, I think he was inspired. She opened up new doors for him, I'm sure, careerwise but also musicwise. Jaco was raw. He was not a musician who ever took lessons in music. He didn't learn how to read until much later. I think the whole process, besides being driven and having the passion, but also being driven because of the need to survive and to work and having children as young as he did - you know I see these thing as great lessons for him, or experiences that taught him a lot. So, I think Joni was definitely one of the main people in his life.
WB: You know it does seem, from the things I read about him before that time, that his playing on the songs "Hejira" and "Refuge of the Roads" became a lot more subtle.
WB: And more melodic than he was playing before that.
IP: Very beautiful.
WB: Joni's voice and her guitar playing combined with Jaco's bass voice and attitude was just an incredible match.
WB: Hejira is my favorite album of Joni's - which is hard to choose, but that one is my emotional favorite. And the bass is such an intrical part of the mix.
IP: I'm sure it would have been great anyway because of her, but he added so much.
WB: Yes. He did. Then, in 1977 he worked with Joni, Don Alias, etc. on the album Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, and he was actually there for all the recording sessions - his track wasn't added on later. Did he relate any memories of those sessions?
IP: He and Joni had a very close relationship. I think they definitely connected on a lot of levels and Jaco never spoke....it's an interesting part of his personality that I've never really encountered with anybody else. He was not a gossiper and little, mundane things never mattered to him. I don't remember him ever telling stories or even anecdotes about anything in particular - it's all just how he relates to other people. I think with Joni, that he enjoyed playing with her, not because he went around saying "Oh, I really like playing with Joni," but because he chose to play with her.
WB: I see what you mean. Let's talk about Don Juan's Reckless Daughter and some of the cuts Jaco played on. For example, I would call the work he did on "Hejira" and "Refuge of the Roads" as smooth. The title cut from the next album, "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter," is such a different sound. It's almost like he's dropping bombs on that one. Joni said that he actually wore the skin off his thumb working on that track. And on the song "Talk to Me," on that same album, acoustically, it's a wonderful duet between Jaco's bass and Joni's laughing guitar.
WB: And on "Off Night Back Street," he's so much a part of the song.
IP: To me, I see the relationship between the two of them. It's like there was a different familiarity between the two of them by that time. You know which is why his approach was maybe more abrasive or assertive and so that's how I look at the whole process.
WB: Well, that's cool. So he was quite a bold person and when he wanted something, he would make sure that he got it.
IP: Yes. I think bold would probably be a way of describing the time that the action is there. But, he just knew what was right and he really did not want to get involved with too much rethoric. For instance, when I'd just met him and didn't know him yet I had people suggesting to me more than once that he was a maniac. I couldn't see it because he was very genuine. He certainly didn't go around looking pompous. All he might say once in a while was that he was "the greatest bass player."
WB: (Laughter) And he was. (More laughter)
IP: Or he would say things like "Why hire a manager to go around telling people how good I am if I can do it myself?" To me, that's just common sense. To others he may have seemed like an egomaniac, but to me he didn't. So I guess in a way he was bold but he was also extremely insecure and shy and I think, maybe that he had to overcome being that way and perhaps in the process might have gone over to the flip side. Maybe he overcompensated. All the attention he was getting in the process along the way didn't help.
WB: All this bravado or whatever we want to call it...
IP: Bravado's great.
WB: ...certainly helped him in his showmanship.
IP: Absolutely. He really did it for the people because he loved them and I think it was important for him to be that way so that they were enjoying themselves. Looking at Jaco play - sometimes I watch other muscians play - there is such a lack of interaction between the musicians and the audience. And Jaco always made sure that there was interaction between him and Joe or Wayne of Peter Erskine or anybody he was playing with. One of the things I've often heard was that whenever Jaco happened to be sitting in or whenever others were playing with him, the other musicians level of ability rose because he always made it so comfortable and also challenging to play, which made them feel great. And in all his recordings when he hired a large orchestra, every single person always had some sort of individual attention from him. It was very important for him to make everyone feel good. I know that when Joni did the Shadows and Light tour, she looked to Jaco for emotional support.
WB: I read he was supposed to be musical director but was late in arriving for rehearsals...
IP: He was. He was not good at rehearsals. But he was her musical director, and the tour was a success.
WB: Let's go back a bit. You officially met him in 1977, which was before the Shadows and Light tour.
IP: Yes. The tour was in 1979.
WB: And you married in 1978?
IP: We had a ceremony in 1978 but by law we weren't married until 1979. It was right before the tour. I think it went into August and early September. We bought the house in November of 1979, thanks to Joni.
WB: Thanks to Joni?
IP: Sure. We bought it with the money that Jaco made on the tour.
WB: So she paid him well?
IP: Yes. She paid him well. Very well, actually. She was very good about that.
WB: You went on the tour with Jaco and Joni. What was that like for you?
IP: It was great. By then he had already become my life. I'd been on the road with Weather Report for about three years prior to that. It was just another tour. But, I would have to say from being a participant in the tour, certainly Joni's tour was definitely very classy, very well done, and very well organized compared with the other tours. (Laughter)
IP: I'm sure part of it was because the venues were so huge and I think it was her first time on the road after not being on tour for a long while.
WB: Yeah, for about three years.
IP: Right. And you know, Weather Report toured several times a year. Every year. And it was usually doing 43 venues in 45 days in 43 different cities.
WB: Oh my.
IP: But with Joni, it was more like a one on, two off, kind of thing.
WB: She likes to tour casually.
IP: We had a wonderful time up in San Francisco during the tour.
WB: There were two shows up here at the Civic Auditorium.
IP: We spent time in the country going horse back riding with Joni and everybody. It was wonderful.
WB: How great. I've read that the shows that finally made it onto the album and the video were not actually the best shows of the tour. Everyone says "Oh, you should hear these other shows." It was probably because they were a little nervous when they were being filmed.
IP: Right, because that was the only show at which they were filmed. And, of course, the other shows were all a little different. You can never be sure which show will be the best one. I don't know why they picked Santa Barbara. I really don't. It was actually a smaller venue.
WB: But it was towards the end of the tour. Maybe that was the reason they choose to film that show.
IP: Yes. And, I think maybe they were somewhat fried by that time.
WB: (Laughs) I would imagine so. I guess there was a lot of drug taking going on back then. I don't know how much you want to talk about that.
IP: Yeah. Drugs and a lot of alcohol.
WB: Yeah, drinking.
IP: That is something I could see much easier than the other stuff.
WB: Yeah. The drugs were still something that maybe they hid.
IP: Well, in terms of the other musicians taking drugs - I never witnessed that. With Jaco, I certainly knew about it, but that doesn't mean that I was aware of it every single time. The alcohol was very obvious.
WB: Do you feel that alcohol was the most debilitating thing to Jaco?
IP: I think the drugs and alcohol probably worked together. Ultimately, what would happen is that he would drink more after taking the drugs. Maybe the drugs, which was always Cocaine, nothing else -- made it more manageable for him. Or he thought so. It's just so hard for me to say which was worse. I guess it was the drinking that made things so difficult to watch. Not to say that the drug taking was any better. That started towards the end of the tour. It got worse during this time. It wasn't so much of a problem at the beginning.
WB: I don't know if drugs are such a big part of things anymore.
IP: I don't know. I've been away from it for so long.
WB: Yeah. Of the three studio albums that Jaco worked on with Joni I would say that the third one, Mingus was probably the one where he was the most intregal part of the sessions. In fact, on the "The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines" he not only played bass but also wrote the horn parts.
IP: Right. As a matter of fact, he wrote those horn parts over the course of one night.
WB: Really! My God! They're so great!
IP: Yep. I'll never forget it. We were staying at the Sunset Marquis and we were going to the studio and the horns parts were decided in the studio and then we went back to the hotel. I think he stayed up until like five in the morning. He wasn't using any drugs or alcohol. I have to mention that, too. (laughs) Great things did happen when he was sober. The next morning we went back into the studio and the horn parts were incredible.
WB: Yeah, they really are. So after the Shadows and Light tour, did Jaco work on mixing the album and the video?
IP: Not on the video. I'm really not sure about the album either. I'm inclined to say that he didn't.
WB: That could very well be as his bass solo spot is not featured on the album. It's only on the video. I'm wondering. Why did Jaco stop playing with Joni?
IP: I don't know. Maybe there was a falling out that I wasn't aware of.
WB: I know that Larry Klein on bass came along soon after that.
IP: I don't know if they ever had any plans of continuing or if it was just the way things went. They had a very close relationship. I would say that it certainly was a love relationship between the two of them.
WB: Romantic love?
IP: Maybe not romantic, but I certainly think there was a very close relationship between the two of them.
WB: A deep, friendly kind of love.
WB: Did you have any children with Jaco?
IP: I had twin sons. They're playing basketball right now.
IP: Yes. They were born 6/9/82. They're Gemini twins.
WB: They're still living at home, I'd guess?
IP: Yeah. They'll be sixteen this June.
WB: There you go. And I heard that during the Shadows and Light tour - I understand that basketball was a big thing to do during the day.
IP: Oh yeah. It was hard to find a YMCA to either play basketball or to go swimming. Jaco was very active.
WB: Something physical to get rid of all the energy he had, I guess. Did Joni play basketball with him?
IP: No. Joni did not play basketball.
WB: I didn't think that she was a basketball player.
IP: No. She was smoking a lot of cigarettes at the time, I remember.
WB: (Mock surprise!) Joni smoking cigarettes!!
IP: It doesn't seem to effect her. She looks beautiful and her voice is still great.
WB: Yeah. I think it's affected her voice a little. It's put some husk on it.
IP: I can usually tell a smoker by their voice and their skin. It's very easy to tell. I ran into her, totally by coincidence, about a year and a half ago. That was fun.
IP: In New York at the Metropolitan. It was 5 o'clock which is the time that they close. And I told the guys, let's go and run around quickly. We were in the French painter area. It's beautiful and large. It's like walking through a palace where you never know if anyone is around the corner because it's so massive. So we were in this room and we thought we were alone but there was this couple standing there and so we started to mosey over to the couple. My son Felix said, "Mom, I think that's Joni Mitchell." We said "Hi!" and she met the twins for the first time.
WB: Really, for the first time? Was she with Don Freed, her new boyfriend?
IP: Yes. It was really nice because Joni, Felix and Julius were hugging. For me it was really emotional because I knew how she felt about Jaco when they were together and my sons are spitting images of their father.
WB: I was going to ask you that. Are they identical twins?
WB: Do the have long hair like Jaco?
IP: They used to, but now they're into having really short hair.
WB: The latest style - yeah. And they're already musicians?
IP: Yeah, they're both musicians.
WB: What do they play?
IP: Felix has been taking piano and theory since he was seven but never plays the piano unless he has to but he does play the bass, everyday, he'd play all day long if he could. The other twin has been taking lessons in theory on the guitar but never plays it. He plays the drums all day long, every day. So, it's funny that they both play instruments on which they've never taken lessons...
WB: ..and they were both Jaco's instruments.
IP: That's exactly right.
WB: Do you feel Jaco's presence in the twins?
WB: I guess they were only five or six when he died.
WB: So they lost their father around the same time that Jaco's father left him. I mean, I know Jaco's father didn't die, but he wasn't around after that age.
IP: In a way, Jaco actually left a while before that. Even though he was murdered, he wasn't well for quite a few years.
WB: To which the alcohol and the manic depressive illness all contributed.
IP: I guess, if there is an order, it probably is the manic depression first. From what a doctor at Belleview told me, the alcohol and drugs are symtoms of self medication.
WB: So I guess that Jaco and manic depressives in general, get manic at times. Which would maybe explain some of his bravado episodes...
IP: The way it is with manic depression, especially in males, no one really has a way of knowing whether you have it or not. The parents have no way of knowing. It wasn't until recently that manic depression started to gain attention in the press. People are starting to learn about what it really is. When Jaco was diagnosed with manic depression no one I knew, including me, had ever heard about it. It's just not something you talked about. I'm sure that it's in his family but none of his family members ever discussed it. It's definitely genetic. The way it goes is that it usually shows up in extreme form with symptoms starting to surface between the ages of 25 and 35. And since he wasn't diagnosed with anything until later....you see Jaco didn't drink or do any drugs when he was young when everybody else was doing it. This is probably what helped him become the composer that he was at age 19 or 22 when he first started writing. His first album was a solo album that was nominated for a Grammy. You know, when you're 25 and you've achieved that much, certainly alcohol and drugs could never have been part of it. It wasn't until after 25 that he started drinking. Also, of course, it's part of the whole process of becoming a star and being out there and having people offer it to you all the time, including the band members.
WB: Right. And also the pressure of being so good and everyone expecting him to continuing being that way.
IP: And, of course, it's compounded with the manic depression. The last years of his life were difficult. I left him because I saw things as being a "not healthy" place for the children to be around - and me too. I think that also added to the whole depressive state that he would get into sometimes. But, you said something about manics. Yes, in the last few years before his death, and after I learned a little bit more about manic depression and he'd already been diagnosed, you could very easily see the manic phases versus the depressive phases. They seemed to be cyclical and it seemed like the cycles were shortening and changing. It was very interesting to watch. I really didn't know very much about all this stuff when I was in the middle of it. A lot of it is reflecting back.
WB: So you left him, but you didn't divorce.
IP: Yes, I left him and then I divorced him in 1985.
WB: Did Jaco see his sons much after the divorce?
IP: The divorce is not what kept him from seeing his sons. I loved Jaco when I left him. I was not involved with anyone else. I didn't stop loving him. I did it for the well being of the children. Certainly a divorce would never have stopped him from seeing the children if I had divorced him for other reasons. It was because he wasn't healthy that I oftentimes would shield the kids from witnessing things.
WB: I would imagine that they're aware of the problems now.
IP: They're aware of every aspect of it. I don't hold anything back. They know everything.
WB: So, if I may go to the end of Jaco's life just a bit here. You mentioned that you thought he was murdered. So you consider what happened to be a murder and not an accident?
IP: You heard that it was an accident?
WB: No one actually told me that but the fact that the guy served only a very short sentence... Can you tell me something about that last night?
IP: Jaco was murdered. He had come back to Florida on December 31 of 1986. He had stayed away from Florida, but he came back down with the intention of getting his life together. He moved in with his mother and was right on track immediately. He was getting a lot of support from his friends and his family. He was playing around town a lot and not drinking or drugging. He was playing a lot of basketball. It was definitely a good beginning. Then things started to go crazy. All it took for him was one kind of emotional breakdown and he went back to living in the street, which is what he had been doing in New York the year before that. He started living in the park and spending nights at people's homes wherever he could crash. I think he was on some sort of self destructive path. He must have been to this particular club where he was attacked before. It was called a bottle club. I don't know if they have them in California.
WB: No. I've never heard that term.
IP: They're called bottle clubs because you bring your own booze.
WB: Oh my !!
IP: They've been established for the people who work in the nightclubs who go after they get off work and have a place to unwind. They usually have a pool table and you bring your own booze. I think it was well received here because people wanted to go out after work on Friday nights. Anyway Jaco must have gone to this particular bar before. At this point, I was having very little contact with him. Anyway, on this particular night he had already started causing trouble in other areas of town.
WB: "Causing trouble?" What do you mean?
IP: Well, he had gone to a Santana concert and this is an old rumour that is at least 3rd or 4th hand, so I don't know how accurate it is. Anyway they say that he went to the concert, went backstage and then wound up going out on stage during the bass player's solo and was asked to leave. After that, he took a cab to a few different places and then wound up at this bottle club. He wanted to get in and they wouldn't let him in.
IP: Probably because he was drunk or because he hadn't slept in a few days. Or maybe he was just extremely depressed and everything else. I guess the magnitude of his intellect and the person that he was on all other levels -- he was not an average human being. He was extremely intelligent, extremely talented and very, very special. So, I think having all of those in conjunction with the illness of the drugs, alcohol and the manic depression - it was very hard to be around him. It's possible that he wanted to get in and the bouncer who was there, a guy by the name of Luke Haven, who had a black belt in Karate. The bouncer was the biological son of the the woman who owned the club. I guess Jaco might have said something or did something that irritated the bouncer. I heard that he kicked the door after he was thrown out. Whatever happened, the guy lost his cool. I've read all the witness reports. He lost his cool. Jaco went running and the guy caught up about 30 feet from the front door of the establishment and just started beating on Jaco. From what I've read from the witnesses, Jaco kept getting up and being knocked down again. Jaco never fought back. When he was admitted into the hospital, the diagnosis was brain damage.100% blind in his left eye. 50% chance of blindness in the right eye. He was in a coma for nine days. And then he died.
WB: What happened to the bouncer?
IP: What happened was that he denied he'd done it. Within that year, his stepfather who two years prior to that was arrested for a large haul of cocaine, must have had money somewhere. Anyway his stepfather hired an attorney that within that year was appointed judge. So Luke Haven received another attorney, a female attorney. Around a year later, Luke Haven pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter, and received a judgement of 22 months jailtime plus 5 years probation.....he served 4 months, exactly, one month for each child he left fatherless.
WB: So tragic. Do "the guys" like to listen to their Dad's albums or watch his videos?
IP: You know, that's a very interesting question. I'm actually puzzled myself that we don't really play his albums every day, or every week, or every month. But there are so many people in our lives who play it that they know pretty much every note of every tune he's ever done. My son, Felix, knows all the tunes. He's played them on the bass. How that came about, I don't know. I'm puzzled by it because it's not like they listen to it every day. It's a phenomena in my opinion because they know it so well. They can hum all the bars. It's really very interesting.
WB: It's almost like Jaco is with them or a part of them.
IP: Well, you know, besides the spiritual part of all that, it's so much in their lives - every single day they either meet somebody or somebody comes up and talks to them about Jaco. It's a very big part of our lives. The fact that they are both interested in music, you know, I go to all the clinics. We went to see Mike Stern last night. He was doing a clinic.
WB: What's a clinic?
IP: It's a new format for musicians to tour and play where they actually are paid by a sponsor, whether it's the companies that make the equipment they use, or the venues, or music stores around the country. They do a clinic. It's not a club. It's usually in the afternoon. It's a stage format set up in a music store and it's free. People can ask questions in between sets. For instance, Mike Stern is a very shy person and he played from the moment they started until they ended and it's usually about an hour and a half. We've seen Peter Erskine and people like John Patitucci and Gary Willis. People in the audience can ask the performers questions about their approach to music or what instruments or equipment they use...things like that.
IP: It is great because it keeps the musicians in a clean environment. It pays well. It's a comfortable level of touring and it's educational.
WB: Are there ever any jams as part of this?
IP: Not for people from the audience. But, for instance, Mike came in and he brought a bass player from New York and he had a local drummer from here play and so, I guess in a way, it's a jam.
WB: Have your sons ever jammed with any of the musicians who used to play with Jaco?
IP: When they were about eleven years old and neither one of them had really thought about playing. They had been taking lessons in guitar and piano and someone taught them to play one of Jaco's tunes on the fretless bass. They performed it as a double bass, a duo at a tribute in New York at the Grand and after they finished playing it, they broke into another tune where some of musicians who were there had played with Jaco, mostly in the horn section - Bob Moses, who is a drummer, and a keyboard player who was there and who Jaco had had in his Word of Mouth band. Everybody sat up on stage and played with them, so that was a jam. My son Felix has also now started sitting in around town.
WB: And what's your other son's name?
IP: Julius. Felix and Julius. Julius Josef and Felix Xavier. Julius' passion is art, which was also a part of Jaco's life.
WB: Oh. I didn't know that.
IP: Mmm mmm.
WB: He painted?
IP: He actually used more pen and ink.
WB: He drew?
WB: Do you have a lot of those drawings in your archives?
IP: I've got a few and Tracy has a few. There are a few people around that he used to do portraits of. He had an interesting approach to his drawing and my son Julius is totally into drawing. He draws about four or five hours a day.
WB: And I guess you know that painting was Joni's first passion.
IP: She did a beautiful painting of Jaco once.
WB: Did she give it to him?
IP: No. But I've seen it.
WB: Oh, you know, I think I have seen that one.
IP: I think it's called the Man in the Moon. No. A Man Under a Tree. I would love to see that again. I think he had a copy of it once.
WB: I'll look around. I may have the image somewhere in my archives.
IP: Great. I told the boys about it. I would love to show them.
WB: I'll certainly look for it then !!
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