Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
On their 14th album, Club Nocturne, The Yellowjackets explore nearly every facet of their personality with their most vocal-oriented offering to date. Heavyweight vocalists Kurt Elling, Brenda Russell, and Jonathan Butler ... more »
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On their 14th album, Club Nocturne, The Yellowjackets explore nearly every facet of their personality with their most vocal-oriented offering to date. Heavyweight vocalists Kurt Elling, Brenda Russell, and Jonathan Butler guest on several tracks, and the band's ease at crafting suitable sonic auras to support the diverse set of guests is wonderful. With Elling, they concoct a bluesy drag on "Up from New Orleans" as he slurs the lyrics in a faux southern drawl. They shift gears dramatically on the beautifully impressionistic "All Is Quiet," which also features wonderful playing by saxophonist Bob Mintzer and pianist Russell Ferrante. On the wistful "Even the Pain," Butler croons a soulful ballad against a South African-inspired anthem. The ever-poised Brenda Russell graces the melancholy "Love and Paris Rain" with bewitching conviction. But it's in the instrumentals where The Yellowjackets have their finest moments. From the funky "The Evening News," which features drummer Will Kennedy and bassist Jimmy Haslip locking an air-tight groove in classic Mike Clark/Paul Jackson fashion, to the pastoral "Automat," which has Mintzer and Ferrante engaging in some Weather Report inspired telepathy, these are melodically rich compositions with burnished execution. --John Murph
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Olukayode Balogun | Leeds, England | 02/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though probably not my all-out favourite Yellowjackets CD, this album is very special to me for two reasons: Firstly because I happened to see the band play live while on holiday in California just after it was released in 1998 and secondly and more importantly, because it was the last album the group recorded with the phenomenal Will Kennedy on drums.
Kennedy brought something to the group that was special. The group admit themselves on their website that "Will brought a dynamic, polyrhythmic drumming technique into the band, giving Yellowjackets a unique blend of jazz, funk and African rhythms." As much as I love the group and respect each individual member's talent, that dynamic element to their sound left when he did. It hasn't been the same since.
This album is also special because it's probably their most commercially intended. It's certainly the one with the most vocal performances: one with Brenda Russell, one with Jonathan Butler and two with the wonderful Kurt Elling. (I've bought two of his CDs since hearing him here). Yellowjackets have done songs with vocals before - but four on one CD? I think this was the first and to date, the only.
The vocal songs are great though, particularly the Russell and Butler ones. So much so that I bought copies of this CD for two friends of mine who don't like jazz and they both love it. They're yet to go out seeking other Yellowjackets CDs but they love this one.
But probably not as much as I do. I love all the songs. Every single one is on point. But if I had to choose favourites, I would go for "Spirit of the West", "Stick_to_it_ive_ness", "Love and Paris Rain" (with Brenda Russell), "The Village Church" and my absolute favourite, "Twilight for Nancy". This is more than a CD to me now, it's a piece of historical treasure.
Olukayode Balogun | 03/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this album with Kurt Elling on the song"Down in New Orleans". Even though I never been there, I can feel like I'm right there swinging to the blues and enjoying the southern hospitality.Brenda Russell also was spectacular in "Love and Paris Rain". This is one of the YellowJackets best albums."
Typically brilliant! A must-have for any jazz enthusiast!
firstname.lastname@example.org | Charlottesville, VA | 10/15/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These guys just keep finding ways to write and perform fresh stuff that's still true to true to their traditional roots. The vocal tracks make a nice divergence from the usual instrumentals, and each vocalist performs brilliantly! Get this CD so you can wear the same smile I'm wearing right now!"