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Yellowjackets: Club Nocturne

Another satisfying album of Yellowjackets originals, this disc contains two tracks with vocalist Kurt Elling, and one each from singers Jonathan Butler and Brenda Russell. Launching with Ferrante’s swaggering “Spirit of the West,” this unmatchable session of 10 potent Yellowjackets tunes rewards the listener with catchy rhythmic blends, melodiousness, and all-around fine solos. Some fans may find the vocals distracting, but impressionist Elling elegantly enhances Mintzer’s shuffle-beat number, “Up From New Orleans,” and a ballad co-written with Mintzer, “All Is Quiet.” Russell’s sweet, breathy sonorities grace “Love and Paris Rain.” However, Butler is probably best suited to the Yellowjackets’ classic brand of fusion, swooping and soaring passionately around Mintzer’s lines on the ballad, “Even the Pain.” Keyboardist Russell Ferrante penned most of the tunes, and unites provocatively with Jimmy Haslip (bass), William Kennedy (drums), and Bob Mintzer (tenor/soprano saxophones) on this vibrant outing, their third release since returning to Warner Brothers.

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