“Jaco’s groove is like a fingerprint – nobody can duplicate it”: Listen to Jaco Pastorius’ isolated bassline on Weather Report’s Barbary Coast

Weather Report play live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, 1977.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Berklee Bass Chair Steve Bailey hears the passing train at the beginning of Barbary Coast, the first original tune Jaco Pastorius recorded with Weather Report, he remembers a valuable lesson he learned from the bass legend.

Late one South Florida night in the early '80s, Bailey was in Jaco's Volkswagen Beetle, along with steel-pan savant Othello Molineaux, returning to Molineaux's house. Upon arrival, Jaco was reaching in to pull the seat forward, when he said, “Listen! Do you hear that?” Bailey strained his ears into the distance and said, “Yeah, it's a train whistle.” To which Jaco replied, “No, man, that's music.”

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Chris Jisi was Contributing Editor, Senior Contributing Editor, and Editor In Chief on Bass Player 1989-2018. He is the author of Brave New Bass, a compilation of interviews with bass players like Marcus Miller, Flea, Will Lee, Tony Levin, Jeff Berlin, Les Claypool and more, and The Fretless Bass, with insight from over 25 masters including Tony Levin, Marcus Miller, Gary Willis, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip, and Percy Jones.