It was November 1999
when I said to my sons, Jaco's twins Julius and Felix,
as well as to a couple of friends, "Let's do something on Jaco's birthday." No
one thus far had done anything along those lines. I told everyone, "even if we
merely get-together, eat cake, and play his music, that would suffice." It was
about time we celebrated his birthday in a big way. I then set forth to find a
venue to have the party, and turned to One Night Stan's in Hollywood, Florida.
We barely had 3 weeks to pull this together, but there were no pressures, for
those who wanted to be there, and knew about it, would make the party a success.
To our pleasant, and grateful surprise many showed up, which included Ira Sullivan,
Bobby Economou, Peter Graves, Rich Franks, Alex Darqui, Sam Chiodo, Neil Weiss, and
many others. For a Wednesday night, the place was packed, the ambiance magical,
the spirit moving, the music guided, emotional, and out of this world, while
mocha cake was served au gratis, and many of us were reunited....hence
THE ANNUAL FLORIDA JACO BIRTHDAY EVENT WAS BORN!!!!
Due to circumstances I had to pass up doing the 2000 event
, instead we celebrated
in NY. One thing was for sure, I received so many emails, and calls regarding it,
whether an event was going to take place, and was met with great disappointment
when I told everyone that I couldn't do it that year. Silently I was hoping that perhaps
someone else in Florida would take the initiative to pull something together, but alas,
no one did. I realized then how important it was to make one happen the following year.
In October 2001 I contacted Peter Graves, and asked him if he would like to create an
event with the big band. Peter had already been thinking about it, and decided to use
the Old Hollywood Playhouse, a charming venue, which seats about 250.
It was such a
huge success. Felix and Julius played with their uncle Paul Horn Muller, Marcus Pelta,
and others. Felix and Robert Thomas Jr. did a duet, evoking the first standing ovation
of the night.
The following year, 2002, it became that time again, and once more I contacted Peter,
wondering if he had made any plans. He informed me that he wanted to do the big band
again at the Hollywood Playhouse, but since Julius and Felix wanted to have more of a
party event rather than a sit down concert, I suggested to have a party with many others
playing, and sitting in at One Night Stan's as well, hence the annual Jaco event was
divided into two consecutive days,
December 1 the party at Stan's
, and December 2 the
big band doing Jaco's charts at the Hollywood Playhouse. Jaco's birthday became a two-day
affair. Again it was well received, Stan's was crowded on a Sunday night, an abundance
of music, and musicians playing their hearts out. Many of Jaco's old friends showed up,
as well as many new friends from different parts of the world, Brazil, Italy, Holland...
The 2003, and 2004 Annual
events took place at Alligator Alley, Fort Lauderdale. There is no question the parties
are growing bigger every year. In 2004 we had special guests from Holland, and Sweden,
namely Jeroen Jansen, Jeroen van der Berg, Modeste, and Orjan Bystrom. Orjan played
bass in a duet with my brother Paul on drums, then Jaco's friend Oscar Salas came on
and played all night, a total delight. The most moving was when Alex Darqui and Melton
Mustafa joined, taking the emotions, and vibrations to another level. As always Neil
Weiss was present, the twins' band played, with Mike Bendy, and Eddy Balzola sitting in.
We had opened the night with an all female african drum group to set the earth tones
for the night. Guests spilled out onto the sidewalk, standing room only inside.
It is time to move the party to a larger venue ....how about New York City in 2005?
The following year, 2005, , the party
moved to the Zinc Bar in NYC. TWO nights of celebrating to a super packed place, it was
simply amazing, thanks to the whole crew at the Zinc!! Let's do it again!