Record Review: Yellowjackets “Timeline”

Yellowjackets Timeline (2011)

Produced by the Yellowjackets

Recorded at Firehouse Recording Studies

Mixed and Mastered at Dogmatic Sound

Assistant Engineer: Ed Wooley

As one of the longest lasting bands in jazz, the Yellowjackets have a pretty diverse catalog. That’s not always a good thing; the band, among others, has in the past have tread way too heavily into the scourge upon jazz from which the genre is only now recovering: smooth-jazz.

Fortunately, on the newest release with second drummer Will Kennedy (who was unfortunately a culprit in some of their dubious releases) doesn’t tread that territory. The recording is inspired and even features an appearance from original member Robben Ford (on “Magnolia,”) even if it doesn’t reach the grooving heights of some of their more recent albums like Mint Jam, 25 or Lifecycle.

“Why Is It,” is the obvious standout cut on the album anchored by a deep pocket and propelled by an accessible melody. The odd time “Like Elvin,” also brings the group to a progressive musically adventurous territory. The remaining cuts (excepting perhaps Ford’s appearance) are more of historical note and of possible interest to musicians as the music isn’t exactly blazing new sonic territory. Nevertheless, as a document in the can from one of the longest running bands in the history of jazz, it’s worth a listen. By Joe Lang

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