194

Yellowjackets: The Best of Yellowjackets

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Yellowjackets: The Best of Yellowjackets From this greatest hits collection one learns that the album to get is 1981's Yellowjackets, the one with the honeycomb cover. The album to avoid, on the other hand, is 1985's Samurai Samba. Mirage a Trois, released in 1983, falls somewhere in between. Sweepingly general overview: The group started out great with fire-breathing guitarist Robben Ford, went through a cheesy middle period with altoist Marc Russo, and bounced back in the 90s with the advent of tenor-meister Bob Mintzer, who plays on Dreamland (1995), Blue Hats (1997) and Club Nocturne (1998). (This Warner Bros. compilation features only the group's Warner Bros. releases. They recorded with MCA from 1986-1989 and GRP from 1990-1993.)

You'll immediately want to program out weak tracks like "Daddy's Gonna Miss You" and "Homecoming." On the other hand, "Imperial Strut" flat out rocks. Unfortunately, however, this is the disc's only satisfying taste of Robben Ford. The other top two cuts are Mintzer's "Up From New Orleans," featuring hip vocals and scatting by Kurt Elling, and "Summer Song," a seductive bossa nova by keyboardist Russell Ferrante and bassist Jimmy Haslip with truly incredible vocalizing by Bobby McFerrin. Also worth repeated listens are Mintzer's "New Rochelle" (named for this writer's hometown) and the theme from the film Il Postino, previously unreleased, which starts out sounding like typical movie music but ultimately showcases Ferrante's jazz cred on acoustic piano. Haslip's bass playing is powerful throughout, especially on "Spirit of the West." And drummers Ricky Lawson and William Kennedy are pretty much flawless.

Of all the fusion-veering-toward-pop bands, the Yellowjackets have the most going for them. A recent Downbeat story on the politics of jazz radio mentioned that they've been systematically shut out of all mass-market programming. The guys in the band aren't happy, for obvious financial reasons. But artistically, it's probably a very good sign.

Title: The Best of Yellowjackets | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Warner Bros.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis &...
by John Kelman
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Brasil L.I.K.E" CD/LP/Track Review Brasil L.I.K.E
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "For Massas" CD/LP/Track Review For Massas
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Cool" CD/LP/Track Review Cool
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Rímur" CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 15, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!