The average band might find it a daunting prospect to follow up an album as superb as Yellowjackets' 2001 live set, Mint Jam. But then, Yellowjackets isn't the average band, and with Time Squared (Heads Up), the group's first studio album in five years, Yellowjackets have once again delivered an outstanding album filled with complex, wide-ranging music that showcases their compositional skills and exceptional artistry.
Keyboardist Russell Ferrante salutes Thelonious Monk with "Monk's Habit," which opens with a quirky staccato pattern that then alternates with Ferrante's bouncy rapid-fire runs. Ferrante and bassist Jimmy Haslip each contribute compositions dedicated to their daughters; Ferrante's "Claire at 18" features a warm, lovely melody over a gentle yet driving rhythm, while Haslip's "Gabriela Rose" is a beautiful, heartfelt ballad highlighted by a lyrical Haslip bass solo. The band reflects on September 11 with the spirited number "Village Gait," turns gracefully tranquil on "Healing Waters," the debut composition from drummer Marcus Baylor, and closes the album on a poignant note with the elegant "My 1st Best Friend."