Mar 18, 2011
For 30 years, the Yellowjackes have stood as one of the top bands to walk the precariously thin lines between fusion, smooth and straight ahead jazz. Keyboardist Russell Ferante and bassist Jimmy Haslip have had a number of different players pass through the group, which might account for some of the uneveness in their catalouge. However, Timeline is as strong as anything the band has ever done.
Many of the CD's pleasures come from the four songs written by saxophonist Bob Mintzer, who has taken the band into a more boppish sound. "Why Is It" layers Ferrante's keyboards under a bouncing sax line, and drummer Will kennedy (a former member now returned to the fold) works his tasty licks in to propel the song along. "Tenacity" also allows Mintzer room to stretch out, playing with drive and verve.
Kennedy's "Rosemary" has a with percussive start, and then flows into a memorable ballad. Ferrante's writing contributions should also not be overlooked, as his "Numerology" starts out with a floating Mintzer solo, and progresses to Ferrante's sparkling piano solo. Here's hoping that the next 30 years can sound as good as the band does on Timeline.