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Yellowjackets featuring Mike Stern: Lifecycle

Yellowjackets started out as the backing band on a solo project for Robben Ford, the guitarist who in turn added spice to the band’s first two releases, still two of their best. Ford also made a guest appearance on the group’s last CD with a guitarist, 1993’s strong Run For Your Life, so there’s no question what comparisons the quartet is trying to draw by recording Lifecycle with guest guitarist and labelmate Mike Stern.

But while band and guitarist have reputations for stirring live performances, each also has up-and-down recording catalogs, largely underachieved through overproduction. Outside of the efforts with Ford, Yellowjackets has a couple gems in a 27-year run, and Stern’s 22-year catalog is highlighted by Odds Or Evens (1991) and These Times (2004). On Lifecycle, the guitarist adds what amounts to a mild sting to Yellowjackets’ potency.

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