Yellowjackets Twenty Five
Written by Edward F. Nesta   

Yellowjackets Twenty FiveYellowjackets Twenty Five - is a silver anniversary retrospective on a band with a golden sound.  



                                     Yellowjackets - Twenty Five 

Yellowjackets Twenty Five

Twenty Five: CD - Revelation; Geraldine; Jacketown; Sea Folk; Free Day; My Old School; Greenhouse; RunFerYerLife; DVD - My Old School; Red Sea; Matinee Idol; Out of Town; Geraldine; Imperial Strut; Sea Folk; Greenhouse; Time Squared

Personnel: Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone, EWI; Russell Ferrante: acoustic piano, synthesizer; Jimmy Haslip: electric bass; Marcus Baylor: drums

Twenty Five, released under the Heads Up label, is a multi-media look at the Yellowjackets today, as well as a look back at twenty five years of a sound that has continually been progressive, creative, and innovative. The Yellowjackets have been leaders in improvisational jazz, and they infuse external forces and influences from everyday life over the past 25 years into Twenty Five.  A live set is the Yellowjackets at their best, with Twenty Five you get two live sets with the CD tracks recorded live in Paris, and the DVD tracks and video recorded live in Italy.

Twenty five years has not brought a lot of change in personnel, of which there has only been 5 changes, especially when you consider what many other bands have endured while trying to weather 25 years, but with each change in personnel the music has changed and grown, which is a testament to the signature improvisational sound that is the Yellowjackets. Twenty Five brings back favorites from their early releases such as Imperial Strut (1981), Matinee Idol (1981), and Revelations (1986), which are rendered fresh as the band layers in their musical experience and influences, and which I believe makes Twenty Five more a new release than a retrospective. The tracks are longer in length than their studio versions allowing the band to stretch-out and express themselves as a group and individually, though they do not overindulge on the solos keeping the focus on the band. The track Greenhouse (1991), which was laid down at 9:00 runs live at 10:56 on the CD, and is still one of my favorite Yellowjackets tracks; Geraldine (1992) with a studio version at 7:21 plays live at 8:53 on the CD, and showcases Bob Minter on the saxophone culling in the audience and the band with every note he plays; Revelation (1986) starts off the CD tracks with a rousing rendition that bring the audience alive as they are heard clapping in time throughout the track, and though the lyrics have been left off this Yellowjackets classic, it was an excellent selection to lead off the CD.   

The DVD brings the band into your living room, and if you have had the pleasure to have experienced the Yellowjackets live then their DVD set is for you, so just mix your favorite cocktail or open a nice bottle of wine, snuggle up to your significant other, and get ready for an ‘evening' with the Yellowjackets. What is nice about the DVD is that the group captured live versions of Geraldine, Greenhouse, Sea Folk, and My Old School all of which are a bit different from the CD's versions showing off the improvisational talents of the band. Watching the Yellowjackets play a live gig has always been a pleasure in itself, and having the chance to see them play, though on my television screen, brought back fond memories from the past live gigs, and heightened my desire to catch them again live in New York or London where I typically see them.

Until the next time you have the opportunity to experience the Yellowjackets live you always have Twenty Five's DVD to watch and listen to their live performance, as well as the CD's live set.

A few websites where you can procure Twenty Five are Heads Up, YellowJackets, Amazon, CD Universe, and HMV.

To read an interview with the Yellowjackets on a look back at twenty five years, please see Yellowjackets Interview - Twenty Five Years!  in the Music Scene Interviews section.  

Note - Music Scene is not sponsored by any third party. All music that is written about in Music Scene are the views and experiences of the writer, and reflects a compilation of music, sent to us by musicians, producers, acquired during travel to unique destinations, recommended by our country host or a local resident, just happening upon a music event, searching out a Jazz club, or other live music venue.

© August 2006. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.