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Photo Gallery: Peter Erskine’s Candids of Jaco Pastorius

A rare, inside look at the Weather Report era

Robert Thomas Jr., Peter Erskine & Jaco Pastorius w/ British TV crew after filming of jam session at Peter’s rented house in Silverlake (where Jaco was staying to complete “Word of Mouth” in L.A).
Jaco Pastorius w/ Dr. Fred Erskine at 7th Avenue South, New York
Photo taken by Peter Erskine at A&M Studios, Hollywood in 1978 during the tracking sessions for Joni Mitchell’s “Mingus” album … Jaco was imitating Peter imitating a photo of Steve Khan imitating a photo of Lionel Hampton from the old Zildjian Set
Jaco Pastorius at the mixing board in Devonshire Studios with engineer Jerry Hudgins (deceased) during the “Word of Mouth” post-production sessions. Note: NO AUTOMATION. All mix moves and effects were accomplished by hand (and edits).
Peter Erskine: "I took this photo just as Jaco [Pastorius] was either coming back from or going to a photo shoot of him walking around Havana, posing, etc. This was the first trip where Jaco’s erratic behavior became so manifest/obvious."
Jaco and Ingrid Pastorius
Jaco & Ingrid Pastorius in Japan (photo: Peter Erskine)
Jaco Pastorius and Bonnie Bramlett
Peter Erskine: "I believe that’s Bonnie Bramlett trading autographs with Jaco [Pastorius]. Jaco was like a magnet; everyone and everything was drawn to him in Havana: Cuban fans, rock and roll stars, jazz legends, and trouble."
Jaco PastoriuJaco Pastorius, Mutsuko "Musty" Mano, Joe Zawinul, Tokyo 1978
Jaco Pastorius, interpreter Mutsuko "Musty" Mano, Joe Zawinul at FM Tokyo in 1978 (photo: Peter Erskine)
Jaco Pastorius giving Billy Joel a hard time, or Billy Joel giving Jaco some lip. On the beach outside of Havana, 1979. (photo: Peter Erskine)
Joni Mitchell Mingus session
Peter Erskine: "Joni Mitchell's 'Mingus' session. Photo taken at the end of the 2-day recording. That album went by pretty quickly at that point. l. to r.: Peter, Joni, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock." (photo: courtesy of Peter Erskine)
Jaco Pastorius, Honolulu 1978
Peter Erskine: "Jaco Pastorius jumping up on the drum riser during a Weather Report soundcheck in Honolulu, summer of 1978."
Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter & Joe Zawinul, 1978
Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter & Joe Zawinul, 1978. Peter Erskine: "I snapped this in a Shinkansen station; looks like Osaka."

During his tenure with Weather Report during the late ’70s and early ’80s, Peter Erskine not only carried around his drum sticks, but a camera as well. Among the hundreds of candid, intimate shots he took during those years were a handful that display the many sides of Jaco Pastorius, one of the most influential and revered bassists in the history of the instrument.

As a preview of next month’s cover story on Jaco, excerpted from Erskine’s memoir, No Beethoven, Peter was kind enough to allow JazzTimes to publish this gallery of revealing, stunning photos, taken on the road, in the studio and at play.

Originally Published