Curtain Call

Jaco Pastorius

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Curtain Call Review

by David Ross Smith

Dubbed "the last live American performance of Jaco Pastorius" (liner notes), the posthumously released Curtain Call is the most refreshing of Pastorius' post-big-band live recordings. Sparked by superb sound quality and enthusiastic, energetic performances, the CD features the only available live recordings by Pastorius of "John and Mary," Herbie Hancock's "Speak Like a Child," and Miles Davis' "So What!," plus the often recorded favorites "Invitation," "Continuum," and "Teen Town." The refreshing aspect, aside from some rarely recorded live material, is the personnel and the absence of guitar. Brian "Whitey" Melvin (drums) and Jon Davis (keys) recorded with Pastorius on three of Melvin's studio dates, but never live. Pastorius is at his most lucid in years thanks to Melvin's spiritual guidance, and Davis and Melvin seem to be playing expressly for Pastorius here. Without having to compete with a guitarist, a rejuvenated Pastorius has center stage, start to finish, his prominence and clarity reaching new heights on the final three compositions, "Mercy, Mercy," "So What!" and "Teen Town." Truly awesome.

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