The late Victor Bailey on "kicking ass" with Madonna and embracing Jaco’s legacy in Weather Report

 Victor Bailey of Omar Hakim band performs on stage at Lantaren Venster on November 12, 2013 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
(Image credit: Photo by Peter Van Breukelen/Redferns via Getty Images)

Having replaced Jaco Pastorius in Weather Report at just 22 years old, the late Victor Bailey, who passed away in November 2016, is still widely regarded as one of the bass world's greatest ever players.

Much like Jaco, Victor was raised on a wide-range of musical ideas thanks to his father Morris Bailey Jnr’s job as a top-flight composer and arranger to the likes of Patti LaBelle, The Stylistics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and legendary jazz singer Nina Simone. His father was also an acclaimed sax player, recording and performing live sessions with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Smith and Lee Morgan.

It’s perhaps thanks to his father’s open-minded approach that Bailey was able to embrace Jaco’s legacy in Weather Report, while stepping into those shoes to replace him in the very group that made Jaco a household name. Yet Jaco’s influence on Bailey was more spiritual than technical, and he was unflinching in his criticism of the hordes of bassists claiming him as an influence.

Victor Bailey performing on stage

(Image credit: Photo by Andrew Lepley/Redferns)

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.