John Kelman at All About Jazz has written a lengthy and excellent article/review about the new Jaco documentary and The Legendary Live Tapes. If you want to know what these releases entail, you can’t do better than John, who has always had a sympathetic ear when it comes to Weather Report.
I haven’t seen Jaco yet, but I stopped by my local record store yesterday and actually found one copy of The Legendary Tapes on the shelf. I’m an old school guy and I like physical media. Besides, The Legendary Tapes comes with a nice booklet with lengthy notes written by Peter Erskine. I grabbed it, although the $59.99 sticker price gave me pause, considering that I could have ordered it at Amazon for $15 less. But I like supporting the local record store, so I forked over the cash (well, I handed them my credit card). I listened to the first two tracks on the way home thinking, “This is great! Fascinating takes on familiar favorites.” I parked the car and hit the eject button on the CD player and… the CD got stuck. Argh!
For several years Victor has suffered from a form of muscular dystrophy that has affected his legs. If you’ve seen him perform in recent years, you saw him sit on a stool on stage and use a cane (and later a motorized scooter) to move about. Recently, his condition took a significant turn for the worse, which he announced on his Facebook page on October 30:
To everyone who has been wondering why you haven’t seen or heard from me, it’s time for me to let you know what’s going on. Quite simply, I am just not in the best of health. I have been dealing with a form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot Marie Tooth disease for the last 25 years. You’ve all seen me using a cane as my legs are getting weaker. Now it is affecting my upper body. My arms and hands are very weak and at this point in time too weak to perform. I need help with all daily living activities, so for the past three months I have been living at an assisted living facility in Newton, Massachusetts. I have taken a leave of absence from teaching at Berklee College of music and from touring. Right now, I could use your prayers and positive vibes. I will be keeping you guys updated on my condition. It is possible that I can get stronger again, so please send me positive energy. I’ll keep you posted.
Victor later indicated that he had suffered a “mini stroke” that affected his breathing. On November 10 he wrote, “I’m finally out of the hospital. Can’t say I’m ‘better.’ My breathing is better but I still have a long way to go. I’m now in a rehab facility and will be working on my strength and stamina for as long as it takes.”
A fundraising campaign has been set up at YouCaring to help Victor with his medical expenses. I encourage you to give what you can. I wish Victor the best and hope for a recovery that allows him to resume performing and teaching.
My guess is that most Jaco Pastorius fans are aware of the Jaco Pastorius documentary
that has long been in the works. I think there were some aborted efforts at this years ago, but when Metallica bass player and Jaco fan Robert Trujillo got involved that this project really picked up steam. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here. The documentary has been screening in select theaters, and later this month the DVD and Blue-ray will be released. All the reports I’ve seen indicate that the filmmakers have done a great job. A friend of mine saw it in Seattle earlier this week and said, “I loved this movie. I also wish I could go back in time and save Jaco.” I’m sure that’s a sentiment that we all share.
You can pre-order the DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon, or pre-order it direct from the filmmakers here. There is also a companion soundtrack album scheduled for release at the same time. The release date is November 27, which is also Record Store Day (and “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving.) That means, hopefully, that you’ll be able to find the documentary in your favorite record store if you prefer the old-fashioned experience of actually going to a record store, like I do. 🙂