Jaco Pastorius, Mike Stern, Bob Moses & Friends

55 Grand St.
New York City

November 3, 1982

Disc 1

1) Improvisation 1 - drums (1:42)
2) Improvisation 1 - bass solo (3:28)
3) Improvisation 2 (10:05)
4) [Name That Tune 1] - percussion solo (2:49)
5) [Jaco and Moses Tear It Up > Name That Tune 2] (9:34)
6) Third Stone From The Sun (2:07)
7) [Chicago Blues outro] (0:49)
8) [Name That Tune 3] (7:08)
8) [Name That Tune 3 - drum solo - outro] (4:15)

Disc 2

1) Continuum (6:58)
2) River People (2:42)
3) [Band introductions] (2:18)
4) It's Your Thing (Isley Bros.) (2:47)
5) [Transition] (0:52)
5) Donna Lee (10:22)

Jaco Pastorius - b, voc
Mike Stern - g
Bob Moses - dr
Manolo Badrena - perc
Badou Kasse - perc
Sal Nistico - tenor sax

For a couple of years a little whole in the wall in Soho featured some of the most exciting Jazz jams I ever witnessed in my teenage years. The de facto house guitarist was Mike Stern, who lived upstairs and his wife Leni would play on occasion. I remember one gig where she was playing with Barry Altschul and she was so excited and nervous to share a stage with him. It was the kind of place where you always checked your peripheral vision just to see who wandered in. Some nights Hiram Bullock would be there, or one of the Brecker Brothers, or Mino Cinelu. Legend has it that Miles himself paid visits to 55 Grand on occasion, but alas, I sadly missed those. But I'm getting sidetracked.

The torrent here was recorded on one November evening when the chalkboard on the sidewalk had a name on it that inspired my own excitement and nervousness: Jaco Pastorius. To sit in this little place with the nice parquet floor, at a table close to the stage and hear that beautiful growling sound coming from Jaco's bass rig was a pure joy. At this time, Jaco's life had not yet quite unraveled as it would not long thereafter. His playing that November night struck me as vibrant, forceful, and beautiful. I saw him play several times at 55 Grand but this was the only jam I taped.

The jams were casual--inasmuch as cats of this caliber can be casual about burning it up and blowing your mind to smithereens. There were many good jams but the ones with Jaco always had that extra something. It was clear how he pushed and pulled the jams at his command--how the musicians on that stage followed him. As for sheer exuberance and explosiveness, few could hold a candle to the man with the beat up Fender Jazz bass. Occasionally Jaco'd let loose with a scream that you never saw coming--snap you right into place! That said, Jaco and drummer Bob Moses had a long history playing together and the two went toe to toe as some of the more fiery passages on this recording attest. Mike Stern, on the other hand, would work his way gently into the music, then burn it up in his own right.

I enjoyed seeing Mike Stern play there with regularity. When he emerged with Miles Davis?s comeback band around 1981, he was the guitarist I wanted to learn from. I admired his way of combining Jazz sophistication with rock power but stearing clear of jazz-rock clich‚s. When a schoolmate told me that Stern played regularly at this little bar in Soho with heavyweight friends sitting in, I was there with bells on.

My most vivid memory of 55 Grand came in early 1984. It is the image of Jaco, walking into the club off the street in a pancho covered in little snowflakes--like the Man With No Name carrying a Fender 1960 Jazz bass, without a case. That night, I got stuck in the club during a late winter freak snow storm. It also happened to be my birthday. A mutual friend introduced me to Jaco that night, but by then his eyes were pinpoints, his responses curt and cryptic, and the overall feeling I got was of a man haunted. When I left the club in the wee hours, walking down the middle of West Broadway through soft snow, I had turned 21. It may have been my last visit before the club closed. Eventually the scene migrated to another 55 address--on Christopher Street in the West Village and the days of amazing jams at 55 Grand were done.

This then, is one of my favorite intimate jams for which I got to be a fly on the wall. Though the jams flowed seamlessly from one passage or theme to the next, I set track marks where a clear shift happens or a tune emerges.

If you know the name of some of the tunes, please let me know. Feedback is much appreciated. Trade, but never buy or sell. Enjoy!

Dedicated to the memory of John Francis Anthony Pastorius III (1951?1987)

Lineage: Panasonic Slimline mono tape recorder w/ built-in condenser > Maxell LN 90 > Nakamichi 680 > Behringer Denoiser > Tascam CD-RW 700 > Apple Logic (EQ, stereo spread, compression, limiting) > AIFF > FLAC (8)