LAST CALL CD OF THE MONTH: Jaco Pastorius/Truth, Liberty & Soul/Resonance Records

Jun 1, 2017

Legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius fundamentally redefined the role of the electric bass during his brief career and lifetime. He also created brilliant compositions for large ensembles. On the brand new release from Resonance records,  Truth, Liberty & Soul: Live In NYC The Complete NPR Jazz Alive! Recording features the legendary bassist with his Word of Mouth Big Band in a historic concert at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City in 1982.

It's two CDs of some of the most breathtaking jazz music recorded in the last several decades. The band kicks off the performance with a racetrack tempo rendition of "Invitation". And that's only the beginning! Jaco introduces the tune "Soul Intro/The Chicken" leading the band into a tune that finds them swinging like mad, which spotlights trumpeter Randy Brecker in a prominent role and Othello Molineaux providing energetic commentary on his steel pans.

Other very worthy highlights of this two disc feast for the ears include a riveting rendition  of "Donna Lee" that features Dave Bargeron on tuba, as well as a performance of "I Shot the Sheriff" which showcases Toots Thielmans in a remarkable performance. And on the freewheeling "Bass and Drum Improvisation" Jaco Pastorius and Peter Erskine have a spirited conversation which leads into a spontaneous performance of "Purple Haze"..another demonstration of Jaco's virtuoso ability.  

This live recording also featured many of the top NYC artists of the day including Bob Mintzer, Frank Wess, Lew Solofff, Howard Johnson, as well as the artists already mentioned. The 22 piece band was recorded on June 27, 1982 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City as part of George Wein's Kool Jazz Festival. The original broadcast of this concert was aired on NPR's Jazz Alive series. For this complete two CD concert recording some 40 minutes that were previously not aired have been added. Immense credit is due to original recording engineer, Paul Blakemore, who restored and mastered the sound of the original recording. Listeners will also find a 100 page book that includes essays, interviews with band members, and rare photos.

This is arguably one of the most exciting "previously unreleased" recordings to emerge in 2017.  Highly recommended!