Yellow Jackets, Timeline [Mack Avenue]

The Jackets’ aptly named latest effort—their 21st album released during their 30th Anniversary—summons all the musical cross-pollinating qualities that have kept them at the forefront of electric jazz for three decades.
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The Jackets’ aptly named latest effort—their 21st album released during their 30th Anniversary—summons all the musical cross-pollinating qualities that have kept them at the forefront of electric jazz for three decades. The opener, “Why Is it,” is a unison 6-string-and-bass clarinet burner befitting a bass hero like Jimmy Haslip, punctuated by his cascading, 16th-driven solo. “Tenacity” and “Like Elvin,” delivered by saxophonist Bob Mintzer and guest trumpeter John Daversa, are post-bop excursions that highlight the band’s considerable straightahead chops. The fretless-led title track and “A Single Step” add to the group’s rich tradition of memorable melodic ballads with challenging twists. Most fun of all, “Magnolia” recalls the Jackets’ funky early days, with original guitarist Robben Ford guesting for a wahinfused solo gem.

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