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Jaco Pastorius Honored in Oakland Park, 20 Years After Death


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OAKLAND PARK, Fla. -- Jaco Pastorius' violent death 20 years ago ended the career of one of the most original and flamboyant jazz musicians ever to strap on an electric bass guitar.

Pastorius' Grammy-winning career included time with influential group Weather Report, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, who has called him a genius. But the end of his life was marred by erratic and strange behavior that culminated in a brawl outside a South Florida bar that killed him at 35.

Now, the city of Oakland Park is honoring the man they simply call Jaco, naming a yet-unbuilt park after him as a reminder that a visionary once roamed this otherwise nondescript Fort Lauderdale suburb.

“He influenced me as a kid growing up wanting to do what he did," said Brian Yale, bass guitarist for the rock band Matchbox 20, at an Oakland Park city commission meeting in November.

“That it happened here in Oakland Park in the local school system, that's cool," said Yale, who lives near the park. “It's something that all of us should be telling our kids about, because this stuff started here. He changed the one American art form - jazz."

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