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Album Review

Contemporary jazz ensemble Yellowjackets' 2011 Mack Avenue debut, Timeline features the band's longstanding knack for straddling the line between smooth jazz and more cerebral post-bop stuff. Marking the group's 30 years in the business, the album is a perfect mix of low-key, soulful moments and more funky, angular jazz. In that sense, it's a perfect balance of what the band has done throughout its career. Showcased here are members saxophonist Bob Mintzer, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip, and drummer Will Kennedy, as well as guests guitarist Robben Ford and trumpeter John Daversa. Ultimately, with tracks like the disarmingly knotty opener "Why Is It," the expansive "Tenacity," and the ruminative R&B-infused title track, Timeline reveals Yellowjackets as a band in a seemingly reinvigorated and creative state of mind. Not a bad place to be at 30.


Formed: 1981

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although sometimes grouped with Spyro Gyra, Yellowjackets are actually one of the most creative regular groups in the "rhythm & jazz" genre. Founded in 1981 as an R&B-oriented band that starred guitarist Robben Ford, the group took a giant step forward when, after Ford's departure, altoist Marc Russo took his place. With original members Russell Ferrante on keyboards and electric bassist Jimmy Haslip, in addition to drummer William Kennedy, the band found its own R&B-ish sound, sometimes playing...
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Timeline, Yellowjackets
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