The colorful mural on the Oakland Park community building at 4000 N. Dixie Highway is hard to miss, even at rush hour. Rich purples, blues and black applied by local artist Bill Savarese converge to form the likeness of one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, Oakland Park’s native son, bassist John Anthony “Jaco” Pastorius III.
At the height of his short career, Pastorius was transforming the jazz idiom and had become the first electric bassist to distinguish himself as a solo artist.
His colleague, well known performer Pat Matheny, once said of Pastorius, “For all the caterwauling that has gone on about new musicians that have shown up in recent years being toted as the "next Miles", or the "Duke Ellington of their generation", or whatever, Jaco outranks all of them and all of that by being the one and the only of his kind, without predecessor; the only post-1970 jazz musician known on a first name basis with all music fans of all varieties everywhere in the world.”
Twenty-five years ago, Pastorius’ promising recording and touring career was cut short at the age of 35 after a tragic confrontation at a Wilton Manors nightclub left the musician mortally wounded. And, so many years later, he remains a popular figure among jazz lovers who have established international fan clubs, tribute websites and Facebook pages.
In tribute to his memory and musical legacy, Oakland Park Main Street presents a free concert, “A Tribute to Jaco,” on his birthday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. in Jaco Pastorius Park, next to the Dixie Highway community building.
“Jaco is a very important part of Oakland Park’s history and the concert is a special way to honor him and his musical legacy on his birthday,” explained Siegi Constantine, executive director of Oakland Park Main Street, the non-profit organization that promotes the city’s downtown business district.
Headlining the event is NEOLYTHYC, a young band from Coconut Grove, whose four members have been compared to the prodigious talent displayed by a young Pastorius. While the band has developed a progressive metal sound, the high schoolers — like Pastorius — already have drawn widespread industry interest and just released their first album. Also taking the stage on Saturday will be The Marcel Salas Trio.
In between performances, audiences will be treated to videos recorded by Pastorius at the height of his career in the 1970s with Weather Report and a sneak peak at a new documentary being produced by Robert Trujillo and the Pastorius family.
Members of the Pastorius family will also be on hand at the concert, with a special musical tribute offered by Pastorius’ son, drummer Julius, and friends with the group Le Bron Jams.
For more information, go to www.oaklandparkmainstreet.com.
If you go to “A Tribute to Jaco” Concert
Performances by NEOLYTHYC, The Marcel Salas Trio and Le Bron Jams featuring Julius Pastorius
Saturday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Jaco Pastorius Park
4000 N. Dixie Hwy., Oakland Park
$5 VIP parking, free parking available nearby