THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO YOU.
..in memory of Wally Breese..
"I wish you music, happiness and fulfillment in your lives, and I hope we meet again!"
Most of the letters below were received after I did an interview for
's Joni Mitchell Homesite (www.jonimitchell.com).
For two years following said interview with Wally in 1998, we
received mail from many who expressed their heartfelt
appreciation for Jaco,
their unconditional love for his music,
and often candidly shared some of their own life,
and experiences with us.
This page honors them, and those of the future.
See a photo gallery of more fans here
In addition, Tom Stroud has established a Jaco Pastorius Scholarship Fund.
The aspiring recipients honor us in sharing with you letters of appreciation.
Our deepest Thanks to Tom. :O)
:::: GABRIEL ESPINOSA
Hello once again, all I can say now is WOW.
I really wasn't expecting to be
picked since I haven't been
playing that long, but I am extremely honored by
from the Jaco Pastorius Memorial Scholarship.
So I would like to
thank you dearly for having an interest in my bass playing
My name is Gabriel Espinosa, I am 15 years of age and have been playing
the electric bass for about eight months. My family is one reason why I
have always been in love with music. My father used to be a drummer
playing in Mexico, and my uncle was a bass player in Mexico as well.
My cousin is also a drummer and plays guitar. My brother, Andres,
played guitar but now he plays many types of African percussion instruments.
Another older brother, Antonio, played electric bass but he eventually
gave it up for other interests.
So when I was in eighth grade I finally decided to pick up my favorite instrument,
the bass. I began by playing Antonio's little electric bass, and I was not
taking any bass guitar lessons. The electric bass was so bad even my friends
who play guitar and bass couldn't play it. That's what Ihad to start with,
and I dealt with that for two months. Then before I started lessons I bought
my new bass, the Peavey Milestone II, and my Peavey practice amp. While using
my brother's old bass I struggled, but I enjoyed it. Once I got my new bass
(not that new anymore) I fell in love with the instrument.
Ever since then all I ever focused on was playing my bass, all I do on my
spare time is practice, jam with my friends, or look at equipment. So the
money that you so dearly have contributed will definitely serve a good
purpose. I am hoping to buy a new bass better than the one I have now. Even
though I have a decent bass that works great I still would like to save for
a bass possibly with a low B string. Which bass I'll pick hasn't been
decided yet but I want to take my time and pick the right one for me.
So thank you once again, the scholarship really does mean a lot to me.
Not only did you help me financially, but most importantly inspire me
even more to expand my skill as far as I can with my bass.
I am most
certain I will use all the talent I have and better my self as a musician.
Thank you for your time and the money it means a lot.
:::: WADE JOHNSON
I have been informed that you have contributed funds to the Jaco Pastorius
Memorial Scholarship. Thank you very much for your contribution.
I am the recipient of the Jaco scholarship. My name is Wade Johnson.
I am 11 years old and attend Jackson Middle School. I have been playing
electric bass for 2 years. I play on my own as well as receiving private
lessons and playing in the sixth grade intermediate band.
I enjoy playing along with music I hear such as some Little Feat tunes.
One time my band instructor at school wanted a jazzy opening,
so I asked my bass instructor to assist with some ideas.
When I played the new opening my band teacher at school was
very impressed .
I also helped my brother by playing a bass part for some music he was mixing.
My goal, as of now, is to be able to play bass guitar with my
that plays around town. I would also like to play stand up bass and continue
with electric bass so I could
play in the jazz band at my school and in high school.
Someday I may even get the opportunity to play in a band of my own�
at least I hope so.
Again thank you very much for your contribution of funds to the Jaco Pastorius Scholarship.
I plan to use the money on a new drum machine that will enhance my bass playing.
I am a jazz musician (pianist/composer) in Toronto, I'm 38
and I just read your interview with Wally at the Joni
Just wanted to, firstly, thank you for taking the time
to share these thoughts
and reflections with us. I also wanted to share
that Jaco's music has meant
a great deal to me personally, for a very
large part of my musical life.
"Bright Size Life" was my first
exposure, and then "Heavy Weather", "Mingus",
and his first 2 albums
just SLAY me, particularly "Word of Mouth".
And his TUNES. "Havona" just
blows my mind. A very special talent,
not just as a bass player, but as
a writer/orchestrator. I was lucky
to see him live once with Weather
Report. I read the book on Jaco,
and it just left me feeling so, so very
sad. I never met him, but I
miss him very much. All the best to you and
your 2 sons.
I've just finished reading your interview regarding Jaco, your sons, and
Joni Mitchell at her web site and wanted to thank you for sharing your
insights. I'll listen to Jaco's music with a better-informed ear.
I am one of those many hard core Weather Report fans.
I really loved your husband's playing as so many did.
I was about 16 years old when I bought the 8:30 album and one of my
dreams soon after was to see Jaco, Zawinul, Wayne and Peter in concert.
I would shut myself up in my room at night, turn off all the lights
and imagine I was there; with Jaco just laying it down, giving the people
what they came for. I am a guitarist myself and that playing just inspired me so.
I was very saddened to hear about his death and to know that I would never
see him play, but I still listen to their recordings all the time. That good
of playing will never, never die, and the joy it gives me is just as fresh.
I wish you and your sons all the best.
::::BILL FLETCHER ::::
I have been a big fan of Jaco's ever since I heard his first solo album,
the "Black Market" Weather Report album, and his work with Joni.
I used to listen to "Refuge of the Road" on the Hejira album over and over,
just to listen to his bass solos. He was an amazing musician and artist.
Tragically, Jaco's life did not turn out as he deserved and the music world
suffered a great loss. Again, thank you for your candidness and honesty
your lives together. You have two fine sons and I wish you all good fortune.
::::MICHAEL PAZ ::::
Your words about Jaco and the children brought tears of joy AND sadness,
but the overall feeling I had was of joy to know you and the children are
doing well and Jaco's spirit lives on. Jaco's music meant so much to me,
especially with Joni. It touched me in ways that I cannot put into words,
but it will stay with me and live on with me forever and through my
children Mikey (8) and Julian (21mos.), who are also very musical.
Wally Breese is such as special person to have created a place in cyberspace
where I have encountered so many kindred spirits (like Pearl who I had the
pleasure of playing music with in Boston at the Joni Fest) and many others.
I have made so many new friends who I exchange music, ideas, feelings, and
other forms of friendship on a daily basis with. Thank you for sharing a part
of your life with all of us and I pray you have many blessings, peace, and love.
Best to you,
::::DREW DIX ::::
Jaco became an acquaintance of mine right before he died when I was running and
performing in a theater in TriBeCa in NYC. There was a bar called "Magoo's" at the
corner of Walker St. and 6th Ave. (now a pharmacy), just a block away from my theater.
We would go there to unwind, and we would play pool.
I played with this very interesting fellow one night in 1986 (Jaco),
and I don't remember who tipped me off on who he was,
but we were matched up again later that evening,
and I asked him his name--sure enough, it was him.
I had heard his unique brilliance first with Weather Report,
and, being a Joni fan, on her records.
What I'll never forget (besides his energy) was his handshake as he
introduced himself as we chalked up for our second game- he extended
his hand with fingers spread widely, a big hand, flexed fully with
fingers arching, eager to engulf the modest paw of a new actor-friend.
I find myself now shaking hands like that occasionally,
and the gesture always recalls that night.
We ran into each other there perhaps 2-3 more times, and I hear he
even picked up a bass there one night (I missed it), and then I was
stunned by his (sketchy) obit in the NY Times. I think I even saved it.
Perhaps we would not have ever become friends, but I felt great loss,
like many did. But also very lucky.
::::YUICHI MIYAKAWA ::::
I went to Ft.Lauderdale last year, and visited Jaco's grave on the 21st of September
with my friend Randy Word. He is also a Jaco fan, from the Palm Beach area.
There are so many Jaco fans in Japan. They continue to hear that great Jaco music every day.
I have provided them with a Jaco web site in Japan. My main objective is to introduce
his music and compositions to the young people who have never heard of him.
::::CARL R. SNOW ::::
I cannot express in words what Jaco's playing did for me in my musical formation.
I have been a writer (songs) for many years...and often almost fell in the way Jaco did.
He was more than a man, as we are all more than definitions�� he was soul and beauty
captured in the rhyme and rhythm of bass and composition.
On my new CD I have a "hidden" Bass-line in one of the tunes...My little "ode" to Jaco
Funny how people "pop-up" where you least expect them
Peace and Love be with You and Your Family,
Carl R. Snow
::::MICHAEL MULDER ::::
Jaco's music has touched me deeply and inspired me endlessly.
I want to thank you for continuing his legacy and
I wish the utmost best to you and your family.
::::JUN TENDO ::::
I met you, Jaco, and Peter in Japan, at the Keio Plaza Hotel on the 23rd of June 1980,
after Weather Report played at Shinjuku Koseinenkin Hall. I was 19 years then.
I was getting Jaco's signature at the Keio Plaza's reception floor,
and then you said "Do you play an instrument ?." I answered "I play bass",
and immediately Jaco said "Oh! bass, come on!". I stayed nearly 2 hours with
you having a meal and talking, you were very kind-hearted to a Japanese teen-age fan.
Jaco was a frank human being, and his marvelous musical sensitivity cultivated our minds.
To this day I still follow his music...
::::PHILLIP PARK ::::
Thank you for providing more insight on Jaco, who I believe was as innovative,
talented and as influential as any of the jazz greats throughout history.
One personal insight I have to share about Jaco came to me after the wedding of a
friend, at an outdoor reception where a steel drum band was playing. As the band
played, I thought I heard a very familiar sound coming from the larger, bass
steel drummer. He was rolling his mallets around these large, dented oil drum heads,
and the notes seemed almost to be curving in the air and the sound of those notes
was the same sound I had heard Jaco sometimes making with his fluid vibratos on
fretless bass. It was beautiful, and it reminded me of the joy and the deep,
but never hopeless, sorrow he conveyed through his music.
My favorite music of Jaco's, if I had to choose, might be "John and Mary" from
the Word of Mouth album or "A Remark You Made" from Heavy Weather.
::::HEROLD OLUOCH ::::
I am originally from Kenya in East Africa. I was born and brought up in Nairobi.
I went to the university in England and worked there for 4 years , and just
emigrated to Calgary,Canada. I am a biochemist by training but
just recently picked up the bass guitar.
In the last 4 years, I have been collecting anything to do with the works of Jaco and
reading listening and watching everything to do with this amazingly deep human being.
What amazes me the most is the deep ethnicity of his Music and how it
reminds me of my African origin. Certain sounds that I only hear in
Africa yet Jaco was an American and perhaps never set foot on Africa.!!
Thanks a lot,
::::LEWIS SAUL ::::
Thank you for sharing your memories of Jaco on the Joni Mitchell website.
There is not a day in my life that goes by without hearing that sweet fretless sound
-- either in my head or through speakers! Although it has been at least 20 years
since we first heard him on commercial releases, no bass player has even come *close*
to achieving the tonal, technical, and supermusical benchmarks established by Jaco.
I wish you and your family well -- and thanks again for sharing your memories!
TFZMRI (The Frank Zappa Musical Resource Institute)
::::TODD BRITTAIN ::::
I read your interview with Wally Breese on the Joni Mitchell website.
Thanks so much for sharing with us all about Jaco. I don't mind saying
that he was, still is, and will always be my musical hero. His music has
touched me like it did so many others, in a way I just cannot put into words.
I feel so happy for you that you have two fine sons who are following in their
fathers footsteps and continuing that great Pastorius tradition of fine music.
I know how much those boys must mean to you...I have three children myself.
Well...just wanted to say a quick hello, may God bless you.
Respectfully and sincerely,
::::MANUEL TREVINO ::::
Jaco's groove will always burn deeply in my mind...his enormous talent was not
easily recognized by the masses. He was a true virtuoso in the most classic sense.
I miss him immensely; however, my loss pales in comparison to yours.
In my mind, Jaco will live forever!
Corpus Christi, Texas
::::STEFAN FRELANDER ::::
I followed Jaco's career very closely, from the first solo album on.
I myself have had a career as a bass player and even though I am now
a teacher (my native language, philosophy and computers) I feel I owe
Jaco a great deal, as a "used-to-be"-musician, and as a human.
I consider him to be one of my nearest and dearest companions in
life and I try to promote him and his work as much as I can.
I am 37 years old now and I have listened to a lot of good music but I
always keep coming back to my roots, my musical upbringing, my teacher
in music, Jaco. Especially the Word of Mouth album means a lot to me,
I cant find anything to compare with. Those fifteen minutes when you go
from Bach, to Japan, The Beatles, into confusion and then lifted up
again are just the best. It is total freedom of the mind.
I would like to have that guts in life, but of course, I do not.
::::CHRIS KENDRICK ::::
. . and I want you to know that "Refuge of the Roads" is playing in the
background. Like Wally, Hejira is a true "desert island disk" for me. Yes,
Joni was the heart of that indelible achievement, but Jaco's contribution is
also etched in the musical part of my psyche. Thank you both for the
conversation, and for recognizing and appreciating the magnitude of their
joint contribution as musical and spiritual partners.
". . . and we laughed how are perfection would always be denied." (But it
::::VIC VICENA ::::
Hi Ingrid, It was very nice to run across the interview with Wally and
yourself. There were some very some subtle details that only someone
like yourself could know. Thanks for sharing those memories. I am a
bass player and had heard a few of Jaco's records and was of course
impressed, but it wasn't until I saw him perform in a small club and
talked to him at the sound check that I caught whatever it is that you
get from him. It has never left me. He left me with a feeling that I
could do so much more than I had thought before. This was around 81 or
82 at a club in San Diego, CA called the Bacchanal. I remember you
and your sons, they were just walking and had some very colorful
caps. Not too long after that I was working with your brother Paul, who
was living in San Diego at the time.
The last time I saw Jaco was around
85 or 86, at a small club in Mill Valley, CA called "Sweetwater", I
was the house sound engineer. He was just standing at the bar, watching
a band called the Survivors, who had Charles Neville and Charmaine
Neville. After the set someone told the band that Jaco was there and
they came down to say hi. A 18 year old piano player named, Harry
Conick said hi to Jaco. I wonder if Harry remembers.
Again, thanks so much and good luck,
I'm Robert from Munich in Germany.
I've seen Jaco three times here in Munich, two times with Weather Report at the
Circus Krone and one time with his Word of Mouth Band at the Deutsche Museum
(including the incredible, ever-smiling guitar-wizard Mike Stern playing "Teen Town"
simultaneous with Jaco and even the solo part in one of Jaco's most underrated
tunes, "Havona"). Seeing Jaco with Weather Report for the first time, a few weeks
after having bought the "Women with the Feathered Head"-album (which was my first
contact with Weather Report), was an indescribable experience. Jaco was in a great
mood, smiling and sliding away and playing the ass off of every bassplayer in town.
I found it interesting what you said about his ability to interact with the band-members
and certainly it is true. And I think, Jaco and Joe were a very special couple too.
You know, this was the time nearly every bassplayer tried to imitate his voice, and for a young bassist like me (being 16 at the first Weather Report concert and 38 now), it was nearly unavoidable not to try to walk in his footsteps. But as he was a true inventor on his instruments, his footsteps were too big for the most of us.
I was deeply move by the tenderness you had talking about him, even if I probably can imagine more than others how difficult and sometimes impossible it is to be around a manic-depressive person. That makes me feel much better than reading the Jaco-bio written by Bill Milkowsky. I do not know how much you were involved in this project, but reading it made me sick because of his concentrating on the tragic side (rising genius, falling angel). Is it true that Milkowsky drew a not so kind picture of you?
All the best to you and the kids!
::::JOHN BRADEN ::::
It was a total pleasure reading you point of view. I don't remember
Milkowsi spending as much time on this kind of inside information (I could
be wrong). I cannot believe how much the twins look like........ Jaco.
I have a great respect for Jaco, what's more... I totally enjoy the music.
Thanks for sharing.
::::MARTIN OLSSON ::::
My name is Martin Olsson and I'm a bassplayer from Sweden. I have played
bass for about six years and I like jazz, funk, popmusic and lots of
other styles. Last spring my bass teacher introduced me to a bassist
named Jaco Pastorius. I had heard that name before but I had never
heard him play. My teacher gave me a tape with songs by Joni Mitchell
and Jaco played the bass. I have heard great bassists before but this one
was something special. His time, phrasing, chords, harmonics totally
impressed me, and he is now one of my biggest influences.
::::JIM EDMISTON ::::
WOW - Thank you Ingrid... I was a huge admirer of Jaco when I was young. Thank you for sharing your story - I wish you and his sons well.
::::RICK SUCHOW ::::
I found your e-mail address on the Joni Mitchell website in which you were quite gracious to give a very touching and reflective interview about Jaco.
I'm a professional bassist who discovered Jaco's music back in 1976, and he became so much more to me than just a great bass player, he had a profound effect on my life. Although his death did not come as a shock to me, I was unable to listen to his music or bass playing for years after the tragedy. It's only been within the last five years or so that I've finally been able to go back and listen again and enjoy Jaco with less pain and sadness over his death.
::::JEAN ANFOSSI ::::
Just a word to let you know that Jaco was and still is a great source of inspiration in my life. Almost every day I have some thought for Jaco and your family. I was glad to surf and found your interview on the Joni Mitchell WEB site.
I was born on November 30, 1961 and I always found similarities between Jaco and me. I hope that you are happy and that the fact a lot of people still have Jaco in the hearts and memories is comforting to you.
::::STEVEN MARGOLIS ::::
Hello from a colder part of the world ( I'm in Michigan)!
I have the opportunity to contact you via the Joni Mitchell website, I read an interview there with you. Your boys look great! I never met Jaco Pastorius but he made a big impact on my life by expressing himself through music. I just wanted to thank you for granting the interview and giving me an insight into Jaco and his life. I am happy that your sons are expressing love through music, I will look for their output in the future. Good luck in all you do, bless you and your family,
::::GINA MUNN ::::
I just finished reading the interview you granted Wally for the Joni Mitchell Home Page. I would just like to say thank you for sharing what you did with Mr. Breese about Jaco Pastorius. I am just a Joni fan who has always loved the contributions Jaco made to those fine albums of Joni's. I also saw one of the shows of the Shadows and Light tour (the only time I've seen Ms. Mitchell perform) and I shall never forget the incredibly emotional impact of Jaco's bass on the music and the whole experience. It seemed to me that he was so very much a part of things emotionally as well as musically. Reading what you said in the interview about Jaco and Joni being very close and Joni turning to him for emotional support really bears out my feelings while I attended the show and every time I see the video. Three of the four albums Jaco played on with Joni happen to be my favorites (Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter and Shadows And Light) and it has a lot to do with Jaco's incredible contributions.
Thank you again, Ingrid, for sharing so much and in such a genuine way. I enjoyed reading about your sons very much, also.
::::URSULA MUNN ::::
Black, white, red, yellow and orange
Brown and tan and much, much more
Together we could have the courage,
To find the key of freedom and open the door.
Ursula Munn (age 11)
::::JOHANNUS ROGVU JOENSEN ::::
I'm a 39 years old bassplayer from some very small country in Europe, called
The Faroe Islands. I'm a big, big fan of Jaco, and have been listening and
reading everything I've found about Jaco; and I'm very glad to read your
version of the story, and glad to hear that you and the boys are OK.
J�hannus � R�gvu Joensen
::::DAVE ZIEGENHAGEN & FAMILY ::::
Here are some greetings from an old fan of Jaco. Musically, I grew up
with Jaco's Style of Bass-Playing (Right, I play Bass, and as so many
other bassists of course I have two Fender-Basses, fretted and fretless
- since Jaco showed us the way). And I can feel his spirit in really
every song, where a fretless bass is played.
Together with my wife Ulla I saw your man three times with weather
report here in Germany, and I will never forget any minute of these
Now I'm a little bit older, and my sons grew up (David and Dennis, 12
and 14 years old). And I'm so happy to see on Joni Mitchell's Web-Site a
picture of you and your sons. Because of my language limits it's hard
for me to express, but I think, there is a lot of us in our children.
So, that's all. I would be glad, if I get an answer to this e-mail, but
most important is, that I could write these lines to you.
All the best to you and your children,
Dave Ziegenhagen & Family
::::PAOLO D'ERRICO ::::
One day in Italy I heard Jaco, and that concert changed many things
::::STAN NEIL ::::
As a great fan of Jaco's work I found your interview fascinating. I've read Bill Milkowski's book,
but your interview added more to the story. The photo of you with Julius and Felix was very touching.
Thank you again for the interview and I would love to see Joni's painting of Jaco.
Perhaps it could be put onto one of Jaco's internet sites.
::::LAWRENCE A. BOMBAC II ::::
In Jaco I found a person who gave me motivation.
Lawrence A. Bombac II
::::COLE WARD ::::
I just wanted to say that Jaco was a brilliant man. He has given me so much inspiration.
::::PAOLO CASTIGLIONI ::::
I'm an Italian bass player and a very great fan of Jaco and his Music since 1980.
Unfortunately, I never saw Jaco playing, but my musical heart is with him, always.
::::FRANK GAMMON ::::
I've always felt a definitive connection with Jaco's music.
His music stops my mind in it's tracks, leaving only my heart to listen. So few artists are capable of this and I thank God every day for our having been blessed with the likes of Jaco, Jimi, Joni, and Michael Hedges. Though I've only been fortunate enough to see and meet Mr. Hedges, I feel lucky to have lived at the same time, and on the same planet as these angels of mercy.
Take care. Peace, love, and happiness.
::::MARK MARTINEZ ::::
I am a true admirer of Jaco's and I feel very fortunate to have been a young bass player when I first heard him.
He taught me more than I could have ever learned in a classroom, when I was young enough to be open to it.
I'm still in awe when I hear Jaco. We were all very fortunate to have had him here to give us the wonderful music that we all still listen to and probably always will.
Music has regressed so much over the years, that all of the music seems just as significant now as it did then,
if not more so. It is timeless, and so is Jaco.
I truly understand Jaco's commitment to being the best. I feel a sadness for the young bassplayers today, for they don't have the great bassplayers to learn from as we did .
I send along my thoughts and best wishes to you and your kids.
::::COREY AND JOHN DOHERTY ::::
Tonight I read your interview with Wally Breese and was blown away.
My husband is the big Pastorius fan and it seems sometimes that Jaco is all
we listen to in this house.
Earlier tonight he was reading this interview and left it so he could put our own children to bed.
Just by chance I read it. It was very moving to me for a number of reasons.
Your sense of compassion and admiration for your former husband was
admirable and you seem to keep his spirit alive in the most positive of
ways. He was lucky to have you.
However, what impressed me the most was the impression I got at the way
you have protected and encouraged your children in the most positive of
Art truly is a great thing.
Love for your partner can continue in the most positive ways through our
My best to you and your family.
Corey and John Doherty
Website Created by Julius, Felix, and Ingrid Pastorius