With Volume 5, producer Neil Weiss finally releases a small sampling of the many Pastorius/Stern live gigs played in New York city in the mid-'80s. These recordings are distinctly superior in sound quality to the others in the continuing series with a clean, clear sound, richer and more dynamic. This release breaks from a four-volume tradition -- no Hiram Bullock, no Kenny Dennard. Replacing them is drummer Adam Nussbaum playing with an interesting emphasis on cymbals, and guitarist Mike Stern for whom Pastorius recorded a studio version of "Mood Swings," and a solid, straightforward jazz composition played here in a very extended form. The quartet exhibits more serious jazz tendencies than the combos on the previous four volumes, due in part to Stern's leadership and Steve Slagle's solid sax, exhibited brilliantly on "Mood Swings," "After You," and "Sly Shuffle," three tracks which comprise over half the CD. We're treated to Pastorius at the piano on two tracks: "Three Women" which he reportedly composed circa 1970 but never recorded, and the lovely "Good Morning Anya" from Holiday for Pans. On bass, Pastorius overwhelms us with his speed and dexterity on the never-ending jam "Teen Town" and again with his graceful fluidity on "Sly Shuffle." It's difficult to state which volume of Live in New York City is the best, but after four volumes of music from basically the same musicians, Volume 5 is warmly welcomed, especially for the fact that seven of the nine tracks do not appear on any other volumes in the series.
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