242

Yellowjackets with Mike Stern: Lifecycle

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Yellowjackets with Mike Stern: Lifecycle For the better part of three decades, Yellowjackets have insisted and persisted on doing things their own way and by themselves. So it's fitting that when they deviate from their normal approach and bring in guitarist Mike Stern, the resulting project is titled Lifecycle.

The first Yellowjackets recording in fifteen years to feature a guitarist, Lifecycle brings together two powerhouses in modern music. The quartet of Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Bob Mintzer and Marcus Baylor has stood the test of time with creative melodies and brilliant solos, while Stern has carved his own path with his distinctive electric guitar play. On this album, the two forces sound like they've been playing side-by-side all along.

This seamless union is evident on "Falken's Maze." Composer Mintzer shares the lead with Stern, while Baylor's broken-time drumming and Haslip's bass add emphasis. Stern delivers a rapid-fire solo while Ferrante and others provide support; Ferrante and Mintzer also soloing, on piano and tenor sax, respectively.

Stern composed the playful "Double Nickel," where Baylor's snare and hi-hat work, combined with Haslip's sharp bass licks, help keep this track moving along. Stern's speed and accuracy are in top form. Like several tracks, this composition is part modern music and part old-school, straight-ahead jazz. This is particularly noticeable during Mintzer's solo—the way he twists and turns through notes—followed by Ferrante's piano and Jimmy Haslip's subtle but powerful bass play.

Ferrante's "Measure of a Man" is one of three tracks the group recorded without Stern. This elegant ballad features Mintzer on soprano sax, while Ferrante—in his solo—straddles the line between jazz and classical music. And even Mintzer's improvisation sounds at times like it was meant for a symphony. Baylor's low-key work, on the cymbals and toms, helps underscore this track.

Mintzer takes to the electronic wind instrument (EWI) on "Yahoo," an upbeat selection that has a strong, South African flavor. Haslip and Baylor give it some extra punch, but it's Mintzer's lead which carries this tune.

All ten songs on Lifecycle are original compositions, with two by Stern. The running times range from just under five minutes to seven and a half, giving the ensemble plenty of freedom to roam. While clearly in the groove as a group, the Yellowjackets and Stern also give each musician space for individual expression, making for a lively, free-spirited album.


Track Listing: Falken's Maze; Country Living; Double Nickel; Dreams Go; Measure of a Man; Yahoo; I Wonder; 3 Circles; Claire?s Closet; Lazaro.

Personnel: Russell Ferrante: piano, keyboards, percussion; Jimmy Haslip: electric bass, programming and sequencing (10); Bob Mintzer: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, B-flat clarinet, EWI; Marcus Baylor: drums, percussion; Mike Stern: guitars.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Heads Up International | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Song of the Free Will" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Free Will
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "The Magnificent Thad Jones" CD/LP/Track Review The Magnificent Thad Jones
by Greg Simmons
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "MG50 Peace & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review MG50 Peace & Fire
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks" CD/LP/Track Review Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Work" CD/LP/Track Review Work
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!