Thirty-five years old and still going strong, The Yellowjackets aren’t letting a little matter like the third bass player in as many albums break their stride. One of the top quality electric jazz bands over these three and half decades now welcomes its newest bass virtuoso in Australian Dane Alderson just in time for their latest release Cohearence. Still comprising of Bob Mintzer on reeds, Will Kennedy on drums and sole remaining founding member Russell Ferrante on keys, the Yellowjackets retain plenty enough heritage to still be very much the Yellowjackets, enough that the ever-changing bass chair hadn’t prevented the band from reeling off a string of consistently strong long players at a time when most long-running concerns are winding down. Cohearence continues that winning streak.
Yellowjackets' self released CD "Mint Jam" is a Live Recording, double CD containing eight new original Yellowjackets compositions, and updated arrangements of the Yellowjacket classics: "Run Fer Your Life," "Evening News," "Tortoise and the Hare," and "Statue of Liberty." Recorded live at "The Mint" in Los Angeles, Yellowjackets members feel this recording has captured the essence of a live Yellowjackets concert. Mint Jam was a 2003 Grammy Nominee for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album".
This live set by the Yellowjackets (taped at the Roxy in Hollywood) has plenty of solo space for Bob Mintzer (on tenor, soprano, bass clarinet and EWI) and keyboardist Russell Ferrante (who takes a particularly colorful spot on "Homecoming") along with fine backup work by bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer William Kennedy and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. Although the back cover of the CD says "Featuring: Michael Franks, Take 6, Brenda Russell & Marilyn Scott," fortunately Franks, Russell and Scott are only heard on one harmless selection ("The Dream" ) while Take 6 just pops by for the closer "The Revelation."
Taking a cue from Weather Report (not to mention a percussionist, Alex Acuna), the Yellowjackets created more exotic textures for Four Corners, often with the use of Zawinul-like synthesizers from Russell Ferrante. The album otherwise represents a shift toward more traditional jazz, felt profoundly in the rhythm section of Jimmy Haslip and new drummer William Kennedy. The change in strategy is made plain on the opening "Out of Town," which finds everyone rethinking their instrument beyond the smooth jazz of Shades.