Song of the Day: Jaco Pastorius, “The Chicken”

Jaco Pastorius, the man who revolutionized the role of the electric bass in jazz, was born on this day in 1951. From his early days as the bassist for Pat Metheny’s trio to his watershed years with the fusion powerhouse Weather Report, Pastorius brought the instrument out of the background and into the center stage. His tragic death in 1987 after a fight at a bar in his native Fr. Lauderdale was a massive loss for the jazz world. Today, we remember him with this recording of “The Chicken” from The Birthday Concert, a star-studded live album celebrating his 30th birthday recorded in 1981, posthumously released in 1995. While this funk instrumental was composed by Pee Wee Ellis, it gained greater exposure with versions by Pastorius, who made it his signature song.

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