Track of the day is a familiar sound given that Yellowjackets have been around for decades. The accent is on unadorned musicianship. Flavoured by bass guitar 'Intrigue' has a mobility to it and fed in the comping of founder member Russell Ferrante against the fertile Dane Alderson line is full of spirit. Alderson is an Aussie and has been with the US band since 2015. When Ferrante's piano solo comes it feels youthful and alive. For many the overriding Yellowjackets sound would be nothing without the gutsy sax lines of the great Bob Mintzer, a fixture in the band since the 1990s' Greenhouse. When we return to the theme eventually we certainly feel comfortably numb especially as the serpentine line goes lower down in the register. The theme itself is metrically tricky but not at all intense. When Mintzer improvises on it he runs through the changes succinctly without sounding as if he does. And crucially the saxist never forgets to tell a story which many technically obsessed players missing the plot too much often forget to do. Will Kennedy, who spent all of the 1990s in the band and has been back in the fold since 2010, on drums makes things seem very easy. You won't spend a better five-and-a-half listening to jazz today given what's new and around these last few weeks. Drawn from Parallel Motion out in late-August, this Mack Avenue release includes originals and a guest vocal from Jean Baylor.
Yellowjackets top from left to right: Will Kennedy, Russell Ferrante, Dane Alderson, Bob Mintzer. Photo: press