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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Recent Auditions

Yellowjackets; Lifecycle
Heads Up International

As a colleague of mine remarked prior to a recent performance, if you've been able to do the same thing for 25 years (and counting), things must be going right. Through personnel changes and varying stylistic shifts, what has kept fusionists he Yellowjackets alive and well is quality musicianship, not mention easy camraderie. Both are in evidence on this their 20th overall recording. Keyboardist and charter member Russell Ferrante, saxophonist Bob Mintzer, drummer Marcus Baylor and especially bassist Jimmy Haslip continue to adroitly cross sonic lines; this CD in particular feels and sounds like fusion the way a 'serious' jazz listener might expect fusion to sound (and be acceptable). Guitarist Mike Stern repays a favour (the Jackets guested for him at last year's Montreal Jazz fest) and is the sonic equivalent of a regular guest on your favourite TV series.
The slinky, organ-synth, guitar-driven "Country Living" is the standout to these ears, but also worthwhile listening are Measure of A Man , and '3 Circles.

Look out for : reviews of Hiromi's latest, Beyond Standard, and David Murray & Black Saint Quartet's Sacred Ground.

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