Jaco Incorporated

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There is no bravado in Vicen's website. He asks for no money. He makes no claims to the prominence of his recordings.

But to Bobbing, the nerve of Vicen is beyond the pale.

"Angel Vicen, seemingly with a clear conscious, [has] elevated his rather ordinary encounter with Jaco into an historical event of Biblical proportions," Bobbing fumed on the jacopastorius.com forums. "Now, for those of you who cannot recognize a self-serving opportunistic maneuver when you see one, this is a prime example. But this in itself is nothing new. Check out Ingrid's Jaco Pastorius Park publicity stunt... Angel, you are not doing Jaco any favors here believe me. Do you really think your cassette is important enough to build a shrine around?... It is blatantly obvious that you are using Jaco's name for personal gain... The fact that you managed to hang out with Jaco for a minute and even record him, although it might seem special on some personal level, was no major accomplishment."

In response, Vicen wrote, "I have nothing to gain except the satisfaction of sharing the Martinique experience."

But sharing isn't something that Bobbing seems very interested in. And with Mary, John, and their uncle Gregory forming a three-person majority on the JPI board, they get their way.

Into that toxic cloud of resentment and strife, Robert Rutherford blindly strode.

Mary Pastorius and Bob Bobbing both insist that they are not opposed to Jaco's hometown naming a new park after him. It was the way Rutherford went about it that has them hacked off.

By getting Ingrid's blessing and the enthusiastic endorsement of the twins and by getting a few city personnel tentatively interested in the idea, Rutherford all but doomed the project. By aligning with Ingrid, Rutherford is toast.

"That's just the way it is," Mary explains. "Because JPI is the sole source of control and copyright. Because this is our business. It's our property, our assets." Rutherford, say Mary, John, and Bobbing, has been a nuisance.

"Robert knows just enough to blow his nose," Bobbing says. "If I could sit with him for ten minutes, I'd make him feel like a mosquito."

And he'd apparently be squashed like an insect by Bobbing for, well, wanting to name a city park after his hero.

"There's one person getting lost in all this," Rutherford says. "Jaco."

"A park just helps the cause," Julius says. And for JPI to mount any resistance, he says, "is ignorant."

"Bob Bobbing is the one who is very disconnected from the people who are truly in love with my dad and his music," Felix adds. "I never saw him as looking out for my best interests. The music will just continue to grow forever, people will keep falling in love with my father's music, and nothing will get in the way of that."

Ingrid, meanwhile, says she doesn't understand the controversy about the park and an associated concert. "I had nothing to do with it," she says of the initial idea, though she supports what Rutherford is doing. "It's such a beautiful, lovely thing to do."

For now, the plot of land in Oakland Park at NE 38th Street and Dixie Highway that is slated to become a park is still just a dirt lot. At his website, Rutherford collects ideas for the park, which might include a basketball court (Jaco's favorite sport), a council oak, an amphitheater for live performances, or a mural reflecting Jaco's legacy.

But Seigi Constantine, director of Oakland Park Main Street, an urban revitalization project, feels chafed after dealing with the rival families. "I had no clue," she explains, "and stepped in it with both feet." A jazz fan herself, Constantine's enthusiasm took a hit the moment she received a letter from JPI signed by Mary Pastorius. "We exist, and you are not doing anything without our blessing," Constantine remembers.

At the same time, Rutherford has run into opposition from commissioner Suzanne Boisvenue. "She's hesitant. She's harping on the drug use at the end of his life, saying she'll never name a park for a junkie," Rutherford says.

"I don't know anything about it," Boisvenue tells New Times. "I'm neither opposed nor in favor until I see backup materials."

So far, the park idea hasn't even been up for a vote before the commission.

Says Bobby Thomas Jr., who played with Jaco in Weather Report: "The guy affected the whole planet, and his sorry-ass town hasn't done anything."

Ed Bell, a producer with local public FM station WLRN, says: "He was such a legendary figure, his music is still consistently played around the world, and his influence is still heavily felt. A park would be an incredible tribute to him."

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton