138

Yellowjackets: Yellowjackets

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Now, the Yellowjacket’s first, self-titled, album (Warner Bros., 1981), is on the fusion end of things, but as far as groove goes, it’s definitely strong. This version of the ensemble includes Russell Ferrante on keyboards (lots of piano, electric piano, and pretty hip synth stuff), playing some of the hottest stuff I’ve heard him play. This guy has some incredible groove chops. I once had a conversation with Carl Evans (Fattburger) about a double bill with his group and the ‘jackets. We were discussing Ferrante’s chops, feel and timing, upon which Carl commented that he’d "have to dust-off his last chop" to be on the stage with Ferrante. It’s not just speed that makes his chops, particularly on this release, it’s much more how he fits his complex riffs and comping style (and fat chord voicings) into the pocket being laid-down by drummer Ricky Lawson.

Lawson’s efforts on this release along with the support he gets from bassist Jimmy Haslip are what mark this release as groove jazz in my book. These guys are TIGHT! Of course, it’s more of a 70’s/80’s thing, with the mix on the drums and bass tone anyway, but you can get a feeling for where the pocket is on the tracks. A really good example of this is the track "Matinee Idol" which is a popular cover tune for those who like the "New Real Book Vol. 1". Ferrante’s solo passage on this track is carried by Haslip anticipating the down beat which Lawson is hitting. You know these guys loved playing this stuff!

The tracks are rounded out by the efforts of wannabe-'jacket Robben Ford on guitar who is given a lot of space on tracks like "Rush Hour". Ford’s appearance adds to the overall feel of the album and he, himself, has a lot of feel for the pocket. Other musicians appearing on the tracks include: Lenny Castro and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion, Roland Bautista on guitar, Larry Williams and Gary Herberg both on tenor sax and flute, Ernie Watts (of course!) on tenor sax, Bill Reichenbach on trombone, Jerry Hey on brass, Bobby Lyle on piano, and Kim Hutchcroft on tenor and baritone saxophones. It’s also worthy to note that the release is a Tommy LiPuma production which is always a plus in my book.

| Record Label: Warner Bros. | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "The Magical Forest" CD/LP/Track Review The Magical Forest
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Mettã" CD/LP/Track Review Mettã
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "Alchemist" CD/LP/Track Review Alchemist
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Arctic" CD/LP/Track Review Arctic
by James Nadal
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Supernovae" CD/LP/Track Review Supernovae
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Imagine Nation" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine Nation
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 9, 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!