Tuesday, October 19, 2010
INTERVIEW ON JACO PASTORIUS with FRIEND HELEN SZABO
Jaco Pastorious (left) and Mike Stern at the Blue Note, 1984
Former Blue Note employee and jazz lover Helen Szabo posted the above picture of Jaco Pastorius from 1984. Since we don't have many pictures of Jaco at the Blue Note, I asked her about the story behind the photo...
Blue Note: Where did this great photo of Jaco and Mike Stern come from
HS: The photo was featured in Guitar player magazine, August '84 issue, and Mike had been playing with Jaco in several of the local clubs, including Blue Note, 55 Grand, The Lone Star, 7th Avenue South... etc..
BN: Do you remember anything about the first time you heard Jaco?
HS: I'd seen Jaco years before, playing with Weather Report at the Apollo, in Manchester, England. It was around 1977. They opened with Ravel's Bolero, and it was a phenomenal performance!
So, years later when I walked into the Blue Note, I couldn't believe my eyes - or ears! He was brilliant...the club was packed...I had to fight my way thru the crowd to get a look at him!
BN: How did you get to know Jaco?
HS: After the gig, he came up to the bar where some of his friends where hanging out, and I was introduced to him. I went back again the next night, and we became friends.
BN: What was Jaco like in those days?
HS: Jaco was one of the most charismatic, lovable individuals I've ever met. He was funny, sensitive, generous and had a strong sense of loyalty. I never met anyone who didn't like him. In those days, he was still OK, happy, vibrant and some of his performances were quite simply "electric," and I was ecstatic to be a part of his entourage. He was an inspiration to the musicians he played with - Alex Foster, Rashied Ali, Delmar Brown, Kenwood Dennard, Ricky Sebastian, Hiram Bullock, Mike Stern and so many others...
BN: How was your experience working at the Blue Note from '84 - '85?
HS: I loved working at the Blue Note! I would have quite happily worked for nothing. It was an amazing experience, and I saw and met some of the most incredible musicians on the planet! Working there was like being a part of a family. I have very fond memories of the then manager Sal Haries, who not only gave me a job, but we kept in touch for many years, and he helped me in many ways.
Looking back, I must say that my time in New York was definitely one of the hilights of my life. I loved my job, I loved the city, and I loved the people. I loved my friends, many of whom I am still in touch with today. It was such an exciting time!