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Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius Paperback – Deluxe Edition, November 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bill Milkowski has been covering the music scene since 1975 for publications such as Downbeat, JazzTimes, Guitar Player, Bass Player, and many others. He knew Pastorius personally from 1982 until the artist's death in 1987.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879308591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879308599
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the first edition of this book when it first came out 10 years ago, and I was disappointed with the heavy emphasis on Jaco's darker, later years.

I was excited to pick up this "10th anniversary edition" with "the new insights of the early years" and the "new revelations about his tragic final days..."

There is more early years coverage, thanks in large part to Bob Bobbing, Jaco's friend and audio-biographer (the CD included with the book is from the Jaco, the Early Years box set). However, I found this book to be full of typos, passages that appear unedited, repetitive and rambling.

The "new revelations" about his final days were very confusing. Milkowski seems to want to cast doubt over what was regarded as the incident between Jaco and Luc Havan, though it bounces around between Havan actually killing him, to other vague passages that cause more confusion than provide any insight.

This is a sad book, but it has to be, unfortunately. Reading it this time gave me the same feeling as last. I wish someone could have broken through to help him, as impossible as it was to do that.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember Jaco Pastorius through several great concerts with Weather Report and a sizzling show with Word of Mouth at the Cleveland Agora.

For those who had the chance to appreciate his music live or for so many that are grooving to Jaco many years after his death, the updated biography - with a CD that includes additional material - by Bill Milkowski is the best way to piece together the complicated rise and fall of the brilliant musician.

Milkowski has exhaustive interviews with musicians, family members, media, friends and lovers that are split in chapters to coincide with his years as a musician with a dream, the height of musical achievement and then leaving Weather Report, and the controversial years after leaving the group that found Jaco spiralling out of control personally and musically.

That Jaco was a musical genius cannot be denied. The book will leave you wondering why Jaco - as with too many artists - took his gift and tossed it into the abyss of "what could have been."
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Format: Paperback
First, I'd like to mention that I grew up here in Oakland Park, FL and become close friends with Jaco well-before his years of fame. It was an incredibly wonderful friendship that began in our early teens and lasting until the very day he died after his admission to the hospital (where I was working as a Laboratory Technician). Most fans paint Jaco absurdly far more than he was ... worshiping him as a God, a deity, or whatever their obsessive little minds could concoct. He was NONE of that bulls***. Certainly, he was a true genius and master of his craft ... but moreover he was a fun, greatly-humored, wildly adventurous and warm human being ... a genuine close friend. Strange to say, but in all of those years, I never once really thought of him as a successful musician ... simply my friend. This was a very wonderfully constructed account of Jaco, but (as with most Bios) falls completely flat regarding any early personal insights as to who he was or how he developed socially prior to his fame and notoriety. I was there along many steps of the way, so I need absolutely no such knowledge, but perhaps his true interested fans would be missing out all-together. It seems, however that fans of most anything today seem only interested in the struggles, tragedies, downfalls, shortcomings and shock value aspects of stories. He surely fought his demons, and his fame became his undoing ... but there was far more to Jaco which made him the wonderful human being he was and how truly deserved to be remembered. Again, a wonderful book, but look no earlier for much before the fame.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a well-written, excellent inside look at a very talented and tragic genius. Oh Jaco, how you suffered for your sanity. If you are a Jacophile like me, you will enjoy reading about his life. He would be 65 now if he had not been murdered. Just imagine what he could have done musically! Warning: have some tissues handy when you sit down with this book. RIP Jaco.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It would be mean to criticize the author for this flaw. Fans of a certain sort will appreciate his meticulous commitment to listing the names of all the musicians at each gig or on each performance and lots of descriptions of the way Jaco played. For me, it was too much of the wrong information. I wanted to know more about Jaco's bloodline, his relationships with his children, his thoughts/philosophies about creativity and art and music and his instrument. The book was good as far as it went. The enclosed CD was worth the price of the book: to hear the emotional voices of people mentioned in the book talking about Jaco,
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great read. Very entertaining. The fact that Milkowski was friends with Jaco really adds some credibility to the story. I'm only half way through right now but I like the way the story is told. Lots of good quotes from musicians that played with Jaco.

Also there's some good information that, as a bass player myself, I can put to use. Books that inspired Jaco and where he gained valuable information.

Definitely worth the price of admission
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