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Jaco Pastorious, Noted Jazz Guitarist Print-ready version

by Emilia Askari
Miami Herald
September 23, 1987

Bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius, one of the most innovative and influential jazz musicians of the 1970s, died Monday night at Broward General Medical Center, nine days after he was hospitalized following a confrontation with the manager of a Wilton Manors nightspot. He was 35.

Tuesday, the Broward Medical Examiner's Office ruled Mr. Pastorius' death a homicide. The cause of death was blunt trauma to the head.

Luc Havan, manager of the Midnight bottle club, had been charged last week with aggravated battery. Wilton Manors detective David Jones said Tuesday he had not decided whether to file additional charges. Havan, 25, was unavailable for comment Tuesday. His attorney, Bruce Randall, said Havan is distraught and had learned about Mr. Pastorius' fame from newspaper reports.

In recent years, Mr. Pastorius had become a tragic figure, living on the streets of Fort Lauderdale, where he had lived since he was 7. Friends say that Pastorius drank heavily, carried around copies of his old albums and told anyone who would listen that he was "the greatest musician on the planet."

In a sworn statement last week to detective Jones, Havan said the confrontation occurred about 4:15 a.m. Sept. 12 after Pastorius kicked the door of the club.

Pastorius had been banned from the club because of erratic behavior, police said. Havan said he opened the door, saw Pastorius and shoved his right shoulder. Pastorius fell, knocking himself unconscious, Havan said. Then, Havan said, he walked away.

Six hours later, Pastorius was admitted to Broward General. Police said he had a fractured skull and facial bones, a severely injured right eye and left arm and internal beating.

The night before, Pastorius had jumped onto the stage during a Carlos Santana concert at Sunrise Musical Theatre and was ejected from the building.

At the height of his career in the late 1970s, Mr. Pastorius toured with Weather Report, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell. He was nominated for three Grammys.

But by the early 1980s, Mr. Pastorius' fortunes had begun to slide. In 1982, after an argument with his wife, Pastorius pleaded guilty to resisting a Pompano Beach officer with violence. He was sentenced to probation, which he violated by riding drunk and naked on the hood of a pickup truck.

About two years later, he began spending time in New York, hanging out in parks and drinking heavily.

"I really viewed it as a time that Jaco needed to work some things out," said Ingrid Pastorius, who was divorced from Jaco in 1985. "It's just a shame that he was not able to work it out and return to that area that is most important in life: his family and his work."

Mr. Pastorius, who was born in Norristown, Pa., is survived by 5-year-old twin sons, Julius and Felix, who live in Deerfield Beach with Ingrid Pastorius. Children from his first marriage -- Mary, 16, and and John, 13 -- live in Pompano Beach.

A funeral mass for Pastorius is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at St. Clement's Catholic Church, 2975 N. Andrews Ave., Wilton Manors.

"There are very many moments that we will all remember," Ingrid Pastorius said Tuesday. "Jaco was a genius, and whatever he chose to do was part of that same genius-ness. Whether that was the flip side or the dark side I cannot say.

"What was painful was just dealing with the hurt that he was going through. But I have his children, and I'm very happy about that."

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Added to Library on September 26, 2002. (9388)

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