Yellowjackets, Intrigue, Mack Avenue ****

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 …

Published: 19 Jun 2022. Updated: 16 days.

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

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Brad Mehldau - previewed among the live highlights for ahead to 20-26 June

Tomorrow's New Quartet The Yard, Manchester Monday 20 June Paul Jordanous Ensemble King Edward VI School, Southampton Tuesday 21 June The Darius Brubeck Quartet Corn Exchange Devizes Wednesday 22 June Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams with the Dave …

Published: 18 Jun 2022. Updated: 16 days.

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PICK OF THE WEEK Brad Mehldau trio Barbican, London Fri 24 June

Appearing at the Barbican with his long-running trio of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, Brad Mehldau's latest album a progressive-rock infused affair was a very different approach to the classic trio format. Entitled Jacob's Ladder and released back in March the omnivorous Mehldau at the time of release said that prog ''matched the fantasy and science fiction books I read from CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and others at that time, aged ten through twelve. It was my gateway to the fusion of Miles Davis, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and other groups, which in turn was the gateway to more jazz. Jazz shared with prog a broader expressive scope and larger-scale ambitions than the rock music I had known already.'' Mehldau changed the face of the piano trio in the 1990s and heralded by many as the Bill Evans of his generation.

Brad Mehldau, top. Photo: press

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