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Mellow Soul

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Album Review

The discography of alto saxophonist Yellin has been pretty thin over the past three decades due to his duties as jazz director for Long Island University. This is a good example of his wares, as player, writer, and band leader, with a group that varies in size and heights. Pianist Chick Corea adds volumes to the book of Yellin's capabilities, while bassist Harvie Swartz and drummer Carl Allen provide depth, wit, and swing. Dr. Eddie Henderson on trumpet or flugelhorn, and fellow saxophonist Vincent Herring join on select cuts, as do guitarist Peter Leitch and percussionist Louis Bauzo.

Yellin's sound is rooted in bop, less pronounced or animated than Art Pepper or Phil Woods, with a bit of a salty flavor and in full control. As a writer, his neo-bop tendencies show him no less creative, and inspired by the Blue Note-Riverside stable of hard-boppers. A "Footprints"-type bassline supports lots of interplay as the full band is in on the title track, with Yellin's warm, effusive style coming to the surface. Simple melodic moves with rhythm section and Leitch on "Dr. J" (for Joe Henderson) swing heartily, with unison alto and guitar in tandem making for a mellifluous tune. Yellin changes up on an angular staccato intro leading to hard bop pace for "L.I.U. House Blues," as the other horns and Yellin call and respond in a Jazz Messengers cum Afro-Cuban mode for the best cut, "Song for Lynn." On soprano, he then goes into darker modal labyrinth shades due to Corea and Swartz's musings on "Shaw Thing" (for Woody Shaw). Both the leader and Herring on altos team for the happy bopper penned by Herring, "Folklore." Leitch steps to the head on the easy swinging "The Touch of Your Lips," proving his world-class chops and innate abilities to uniquely shade and phrase. What initially seems like a passé version of "You're My Everything" heats up with Henderson's warm then extroverted solo and Corea's patented assertiveness, lifting this easy, bluesy swing to a higher temperature. Leitch and Swartz also get more than two cents in with Yellin and Allen for the classic Duke Ellington ballad "Warm Valley."

This is likely Yellin's finest recording date, but with scant few to compare it to, there's the feeling that his most shining hours lie ahead. This one is recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 18 July 1941 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

His father was a pianist and NBC staffer, and Pete Yellin has recorded as a leader and was also part of Joe Henderson's early-'70s band. He's a solid, sometimes exuberant player with extensive range, and a decent flutist. Yellin studied sax with Joe Alldard and flute with Harold Bennett. He earned his degree from Juilliard, and at one point entertained thoughts of basketball stardom. Yellin had an athletic scholarship to the University of Denver as a freshman, but then turned professional as a musician....
Full bio
Mellow Soul, Pete Yellin
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  • 8,91 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: 02 February 1999

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