May 30, 2006
by Jim Newsom
Who: The top jazz band of the last two and a half decades
Sounds like: Nobody but themselves
Is it any good? Giving a Yellowjackets CD five stars seems kinda redundant. For most of their career, they have consistently produced outstanding recordings, and they remain one of the best live jazz bands in existence. This live outing commemorates the groupís 25th birthday and is the latest in the new trend of CD/DVD combo packs. The audio disc comes from a performance in Paris last October, kicks off with Russ Ferranteís memorable gospel rave-up, "Revelation," and locks into a steady groove for the next 70 minutes that is simply mesmerizing. The DVD was filmed at a stop in Italy on the same tour and draws mostly from a different set-list (only three tunes turn up on both CD and DVD). For us Jacketeers, the video disc may be the most fun, taking us onstage and behind the scenes. The repertoire digs deep into the bandís songbook, with fresh takes on longtime faves and forgotten mementoes.
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