Jaco Pastorius

Live in New York City, Vol. 6: Punk Jazz 2

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In the mid-'80s, Neil Weiss often recorded Jaco Pastorius' live gigs in New York City. This sixth volume of the series finds Pastorius and friends performing at Seventh Avenue South, November 30 and December 1, 1985 (Pastorius' 34th birthday.) The lineup is identical to Vol. 1 and Vol. 3, while the material most closely resembles Vol. 4. Opening with "America" Hendrix-style, including a few minutes of "Okonkole y Trompa," the band then kicks in the funk on "Beaver Patrol." Not found on any of the bassist's other releases, this groovy, percussive composition, credited to Pastorius, features the band in full swing with saxes and trumpet wailing. The horns are certainly a standout, but the percussion breakdown, courtesy of Kenwood Dennard (drums) and Jerry Gonzalez (congas), is superb. Gonzalez also shines on Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance," closing the piece with a heavy conga jam. Jaco opens "Fannie Mae" with more riffs from "Okonkole y Trompa." His half-baked vocal accompaniment lacks clarity; it's difficult to hear, and seems purposefully relegated to the background. The sound of the audience is a bit too clear on Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now." As the tune begins, two guys order coffee then proceed to converse with the waitress. Other conversations are audible throughout the piece, but this all detracts very little from the music. Actually, it seems rather natural to hear talking and bar glasses clinking while jazz musicians are playing. The CD closes with the longest available recording of "Teen Town." Weak at the beginning, this very loose rendition of the tune features a few hot sections and Dennard's fine percussion work. The guys delve into "Purple Haze" for a few minutes, then several seconds of "Third Stone from the Sun," compositions that are often incorporated into "Teen Town." Live in New York City, Vol. 6 is essential for Pastorius completists if only for the highlight "Beaver Patrol." However, the following release, Vol. 7, is a highlight in itself and superior throughout.