any hint of variation from their previous releases, the Yellowjackets
once again unveil the mysteries from within their explorative
soundscape to create an ambience that is brilliantly illustrated with
each stroke of genius on their latest masterpiece titled “Altered
State.” Composer, keyboardist and co-producer Russell
Ferrante summons his gifted and talented bandmates (Mintzer,
Baylor & Haslip) back into the studio to compose and infuse
their provocative spirits into eleven identifiable and accessible
tunes that further stabilizes their buoyant presence and trademark
sound at the forefront of contemporaryjazz.
The Players: Bob Mintzer, Marcus Baylor, Jimmy
Haslip, guest performance by Jean Baylor also
vocalist The Perri Sisters, percussionists Mike
Shapiro and Russell Ferrante. Produced by Ferrante,
Haslip, Mintzer and Baylor for Heads Up International © 2005
again, Jacket fans worldwide will find themselves mystified by
the brilliance of the planets hottest contemporary jazz group.
The opening track “Suite 15”
penned by keyboardist and co-producer Russell Ferrante employs
earlier ingredients (African rhythms, gospel and jazz)
has made their residency as prominent voices in today’s jazz distinctive
and certainly successful as a band. Ferrante works the
keys splendidly on this infectious Gospel influenced
composition with grace and seriously bonafide chops!
Saxophonist Bob Mintzer pens the next selection titled “March
Majestic.” This is the first of many contributions to this
project by him. “March” has a catchy reggae bounce
at the beginning that’s wrapped by polyrhythmic syncopation and
harmony! As always this ensembles trademark solos and interplay are
Guest vocalists Jean Baylor (wife of drummer Marcus
Baylor) draws vocal inspiration from the Church on “The
Hope”, with background vocal support by the gifted Perri
Sisters (Sharon, Lori, Carolyn and Darlene). “The Hope” is
co-written by Ferrante, Baylor & Baylor. The inclusion of
the Perri Sisters bridges the gap with their near perfect
harmonies to this anointed selection pouring out their hearts and
souls with inspiring angelic voices of the Gospel.
Technically the Yellowjackets raise the bar of excellence
with each new voyage. Ferrante composes another magical moment
with “Hunter’s Point.” This track is melodically and
rhythmically a jewel incognito. The complexities driven by
Baylor’s drumming underneath deserve several re-listens. At this
point of transition “Hunter’s Point” is definitely my
Mintzer, scores another work of art titled
“Mother Earth”. The penetrating rhythms and roaring harmonics
are at the center of their heartfelt communion of camaraderie. This
sheer musical brilliance and artistry of “Altered State,”
which is a signature of an ever-evolving work of artistry in continual
Co-founder and bassist of the Jackets, Mr. Jimmy Haslip scores
the next selection (and his only one) on the project titled
“Youth Eternal.” Jimmy digs deep by embracing the influential Alphonso
Johnson (Weather Report), to bring forth to center stage
the dynamics of fusion into the equation. The playing is
exciting, skillful and forceful. Henceforth, beckoning the listener to
pay attention the details of their sonically offbeat and shifting
by drummer Marcus
the doubters on an authentic musical journey, into another time and
place. The quartet burns with symmetry and cohesiveness that only
seasoned players are able to accomplish.
Seriously folks, if you have a pacemaker, or any other health
related problems you might want to reframe from listening to the next
Mintzer pen composition titled “Cross Current” at
slightly higher volume. Mintzer defies the odds by taking you
on grueling pleasure driven escapade like never before!
“Aha,” scored by Bob Mintzer is jazzier then
the pervious selections that he’s written so far on this project.
Once again our senses tells us the music on “Altered State” is primetime and
deliciously supreme! It’s an intelligent off spring of their prior
recordings yet, they’re music and artistic qualities exceed their
diverse panoramic soundscape.
“57 Chevy” written by Russell Ferrante falls
into the 10th spot on “Altered State.” Melodically
this cut fits well in and outside of their exemplary musical landscape
of prowess and distinction.
by Baylor and
the last of eleven tracks on
“Altered State.” It
is somewhat on the dark, bluesy and moody side. Yet, as always the Jackets
take you on an emotional and thought provoking musical
adventure, while thrusting you forward into one of they’re most
prolific journeys to date. Wow, where do they go from here? The music
on “Altered State”
will leave you breathless!
painter, pop artist and fan of the Yellowjackets Peter Max’s
artwork graces the cover of “Altered State.” (Max’s
artwork also inspired the title of the cd) What a fascinating
statement to make artistically by fusing the best of both worlds.
Compositionally the Yellowjackets music fits perfectly well
within the compass of their own genuine voice of creativity and
explorations as an ensemble. Great music by a unique cast of musicians
is what you get with “Altered State.” Please if you will,
do your ears a favor, purchase it now, and listen (repeatedly)
savoring this tasty collection of innovative and spirit driven
contemporary jazz for years to come!