Yellowjackets – 25

(Heads Up – 2002)
by Carmen Miller

After 25 years of touring and CD’s, Yellowjackets is still going strong. Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of jazz with a deceptively intense sound incorporating elements of bebop, funk, R&B and rock, the Yellowjackets have been pleasing us for a quarter decade now with no sign of slowing.

Rather than releasing another ‘best of’ Heads Up has delivered a CD/DVD combo that addresses some of the Yellowjackets history but focuses on providing a rich listener/viewer experience. This release follows the ubiquitous group during their 2005 European tour. The CD features new arrangements of classic tunes like Jacketown, Free Day and My Old School. The DVD contains a complete concert in 5.1 surround sound, 3.5 hours of footage and more; and the concert is NOT all the same material as the CD, adding tunes line Matinee Idol and Imperial Strut to the mix.

The extramaterial on the DVD is wonderful! The series of DVD performances portrays the groups from now back to then, getting younger and more raw with each performance. To hear the new Yellowjackets playing some of the old stuff is simply wonderful.

The verdict? As usual, Bassist Jimmy Haslip, keyboardist Russ Ferrante, saxophonist Bob Mintzer and drummer Marcus Baylor are definitely worth the price of admission.