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Yellowjackets, Rise in the Road
(Mack Avenue Records)

By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



6/13/2013 - Inside every marginally intelligent American is a jazz-snob dying to get out. The problem for most has always been where to start, especially for the unlucky few who flew blind and bought a few jazz albums because the cover art spoke to them (I had success with that in the past, actually) or because the artist wasn’t Kenny G. We all want cool-breeze tuneage at one time or another, whether or not it’s jazz, but even beyond that, finding a great jazz LP is something you never forget, like winning $200 on a lottery ticket. Rule No. 1, which every novice jazz-snob seems to understand, is not to buy a Kenny G album, because, come on, everyone laughs at Kenny G. Not everyone laughs at smooth jazz, though, and no one laughs at smooth jazz played by small-combo bands that are this terrific. L.A.’s Grammy-winning Yellowjackets lost their bassist to retirement, so they did what you would do: they hired Felix Pastorius, son of Jaco, the most amazing bassist in history. He fits right in everywhere they go, from dueling-time-signature fusion (“An Informed Decision”) to jacked-up cocktail bar (“An Amber Shade of Blue”) to beach-breeze chill (“When the Lady Dances” opens the LP in a manner that evokes sitting down with an old friend whose first words at lunch are “So anyway.”). If you’re going by Rule No. 1 above but Spyro Gyra’s too out-there for you, you should absolutely buy this one. A+ 






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