I was Jaco's first drummer in 1966 when I replaced him on the drums and he switched to the bass. At the time I didn't know that I was replacing anyone. The trumpet player/leader of the Las Olas Brass asked me to join his band and we had our first rehearsal after school at the Hammond B3 players warehouse, Jaco came by to check us out, this is when I first met Jaco. That day the bass player announced that he had to leave the band, so Jaco said I'll play the bass and he went out and bought a Fender jazz bass and Sunn amp, within the first week he knew every tune, shortly after that he was arranging for the horns, and the rest is history. Years later when he introduced me to Wayne Shorter backstage at a Weather Report concert, Jaco said to Wayne "Rich Franks is the reason I play the bass". We used to have so many great jam sessions after school at the warehouse or at each others homes, and I must say our mothers were true blessings to us in their unending support and strength. It was around this time that I met Jaco's brothers Rory and Gregory and Tracy, Jaco's first love, who he would eventually marry and have two beautiful children, Mary and John. I remember standing in Jaco's kitchen when he was still living at home and Jaco said to his mother Stephanie "I can't do the dishes anymore because I have to build calluses on my fingers" so instead he painted the house, Jaco was a great father figure in his household, and he never drank beer or did drugs, he was totally against this, and  would become very upset when other musicians including myself did. Everyone relied on Jaco to always come up with the right things to do and say, especially in music and art. Jaco drew a picture for me of a jazz drum set on stage in a concert hall with the curtains in the background and all the stage lights, it was in such great detail, I handed it in to my art teacher and got an A+, I wish I still had it. Jaco really started practicing and it seemed that overnight he became the best bass player in Florida, and we began to realize his true genius.  Jaco would come by my house and I would be playing along with my Miles Davis, John Coltrane,  Bill Evans etc. albums  and he would plug in and play along with the bass, then I would turn down the stereo and we would improvise for hours, I had a bass amp in my music room for such occasions and a piano too, I remember when Jaco first sat down at my piano and played some chords, he said "That's it, it's all here." Jaco didn't need teachers or music school, he could hear music on a level above all the rest of us and for Jaco the piano was all he needed. Shortly after that we hooked up a trailer on the back of my car and picked up an old upright piano that Jaco found and we took it to his house. We also loved listening to records, and because I was working playing drums at night after school, I would buy all the great jazz albums of the 60's the day they came out. I remember Jaco especially liked "Miles Smiles" so I gave him my copy and a Bill Evans album, then the next day I went and bought new ones. I traded an album for one that he had, actually it belonged to his father Jack Pastorius, it was a gift to Jaco, it was a Joe Morello album called "It's About Time" and a few years ago I was talking with Jack on the phone and he brought up this album that he used to have by Joe Morello that he gave to Jaco that he loved so much, I told him the story and mailed it to him. I also remember Jack coming by to visit his sons when he was not on the road.  He would always tell Jaco to learn all the positions on the bass and practice scales etc.  He also gave him a hard time about learning to read music, and would say to me " Rich tell him how important it is to read music ." Jack was a great drummer and singer too, we used to go see him play on Miami Beach with his duo, B3 organ and Jack played a cocktail drum set where he stood up and sang, he also had this uncanny left hand roll that was better than Buddy Rich's.  After we left the Las Olas Brass we formed a jazz band called "Poison" with Hammond B3, guitar, two tenor saxophone players, Jaco and myself. This was in 1968, and I remember I brought over to Jaco's house an album by Ornette Coleman called "New York Is Now" and I played "Broadway Blues" for him, and we learned that tune and played it in the band, later Jaco and Pat Metheny recorded it. I'm sad to say there were no recordings made of us back then, I think this was a very important developmental period for all of us, especially Jaco, we never thought of recording we just wanted to play and play we did, we were a fusion group, fusing together Jazz and R&B while the tenor players were blowing in the style of Coltrane's last recordings very free and open. The emphasis was on improvisation, and I remember we opened for Buddy Miles at a place in Miami Beach called the "Image".  We were into our first set and I felt a strange vibe on my right, when I looked up I saw that Buddy Miles was staring at me.  Man, the way he was staring scared me, but he was digging what we were doing.  We did other gigs before we went off in different directions, one of those gigs was a jazz trio, guitar, bass and drums. Jaco and the guitar player would switch instruments, Jaco would play piano and alto sax at the same time with a coat hanger around his neck holding on the alto, and the guitarist would play Jaco's bass. Man those were great musical moments.  We started playing together again in Fort Lauderdale in 1978. Whenever Jaco was on vacation from Weather Report, he would come home and play around town. It was at this time that Jaco introduced me to a new love in his life and wife to be Ingrid Hornmuller, together they had two beautiful sons Felix and Julius. I was teaching drums and met Ingrid's brother Paul a very musical drummer and good friend. I remember the last time I saw Jaco in the early seventies before anyone knew who he was outside of Ft. Lauderdale, he came by in his first car a Morris Minor this really cool small car with everything he owned in it, his basses and amplifier etc. he was going to leave Florida and go to New York, and as he was backing out my driveway he rolled down his window and said "Rich, I'm going to show the world I'm the greatest bass player" later with his debut album he did exactly that.  Jaco called me one night and we met for dinner.  He expressed an interest in recording with pianist Alex Darqui and myself, but it never happened. In 1999 I had a chance to record my own CD and I could only think of dedicating it to my friend Jaco. It only seemed fitting that all profits go to music education for children. Blessings to all the Pastorius family. Love and Peace to all.
                                                                                                                                                     

Sincerely
Rich Franks

P.S.  I was fortunate enough to be there at the beginning of Jaco's career, as well as at the untimely end.  What transpired in-between was like watching a meteor streak across the sky.