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Broadway Blues & Teresa

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Album Review

Jazzpoint released this two-disc set in 1999 as a way to, again, capitalize on the Jaco Pastorius name. Although never intended for release, the music on Broadway Blues & Teresa is, admittedly, exceptionally packaged and features fine sound quality and impressive turns by the trio of Pastorius, Bireli Lagrene, and Peter Lubke.

The recordings are taken from the Stuttgart Aria studio sessions (March 1986) and from Pastorius' four-track home recordings made during his stay in Germany (March-December 1986). Disc one, Broadway Blues (BB), consists of different renditions of compositions that appear on Stuttgart Aria and the live Heavy 'n Jazz. Stuttgart features keys and synth; BB does not, and it is their absence that makes BB such an appealing recording — it is firmly rooted in jazz fusion, whereas the electric synthetics of Stuttgart create a levity that nearly places the project in the pop-jazz category.

Bireli Lagrene, a superior, rapid-fire improviser, is impressive throughout. "Bluma," the opening cut on BB, finds Lagrene playing Eddie Van Halen-style better than Eddie himself. The piece is reminiscent of Lagrene's fiery "Improv No. 1" on Live in Italy. Pastorius yells, "That's the sh*t right there — Eddie Van Halen. Turn it up!" A nice touch, Jazzpoint made a good decision in not editing all of Pastorius' voice out of the mix. He talks throughout the recording process, in between many of the tracks, generating a subtle but pleasant intimacy with the listener.

Disc two, titled Teresa: Documentation of a Work Process, features three tracks representing an evolution of Pastorius' "Teresa" composition. Pastorius plays piano and bass, but "Teresa" is akin to a slow waltz, and the composition's evolution becomes rather tedious after awhile. Since the most refined rendition of "Teresa" appears on the first disc, the second CD seems more like a supplemental bonus that really doesn't strengthen the two-disc project. Broadway Blues & Teresa is presented in impressive digipak packaging, available only as a German import.

Biography

Born: 01 December 1951 in Norristown, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Jaco Pastorius was a meteor who blazed on to the scene in the 1970s, only to flame out tragically in the 1980s. With a brilliantly fleet technique and fertile melodic imagination, Pastorius made his fretless electric bass leap out from the depths of the rhythm section into the front line with fluid machine-gun-like passages that demanded attention. He also sported a strutting, dancing, flamboyant performing style and posed a further triple-threat as a talented composer, arranger and producer. He...
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