YELLOWJACKETS, TIMELINE


After 30 years the Yellowjackets still have plenty to say. “Timeline” (Mack Avenue Records) reunites the band’s longtime members –the de facto leader and keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip, saxophonist Bob Mintzer and drummer Will Kennedy – who maintain both their chemistry and jovial jam approach that smoothly integrate shifting time signatures and funky revival tent licks. There’s even a cameo by a former band member, guitarist Robben Ford, on the sleek Ferrante/Haslip tune, “Magnolia.” As contemporary jazz, you’d be hard-pressed to discount the modern bop pleasures of “Why Is It” or the electro-acoustic buzz of “Tenacity.” The band remains stubbornly hard to categorize and they don’t pander to trends – “Timeline” isn’t as catchy as the more commercial “Blue Hats” album (WB, 1997) or their collaborations with Bobby McFerrin. But that musical integrity is what keeps the Yellowjackets soulful and real.  Although personnel has shifted over time, this solid incarnation remains expansive in their musical vision and they will definitely leave old and new listeners digging on their template of jazz fusion and loose-limbed grooves. (11 tracks; 62:15 minutes)
       

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JAZZ IN SPACE: YELLOWJACKETS, TIMELINE

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

YELLOWJACKETS, TIMELINE


After 30 years the Yellowjackets still have plenty to say. “Timeline” (Mack Avenue Records) reunites the band’s longtime members –the de facto leader and keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip, saxophonist Bob Mintzer and drummer Will Kennedy – who maintain both their chemistry and jovial jam approach that smoothly integrate shifting time signatures and funky revival tent licks. There’s even a cameo by a former band member, guitarist Robben Ford, on the sleek Ferrante/Haslip tune, “Magnolia.” As contemporary jazz, you’d be hard-pressed to discount the modern bop pleasures of “Why Is It” or the electro-acoustic buzz of “Tenacity.” The band remains stubbornly hard to categorize and they don’t pander to trends – “Timeline” isn’t as catchy as the more commercial “Blue Hats” album (WB, 1997) or their collaborations with Bobby McFerrin. But that musical integrity is what keeps the Yellowjackets soulful and real.  Although personnel has shifted over time, this solid incarnation remains expansive in their musical vision and they will definitely leave old and new listeners digging on their template of jazz fusion and loose-limbed grooves. (11 tracks; 62:15 minutes)
       

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