Yellowjackets: Peace Round (2003)
Their first Christmas album in a career that has spanned over 25 years allows the Yellowjackets to share the holiday spirit with a world in which more holiday time-outs seem to be the best medicine for what ails our society. This time of the year, things do slow down a little. Never enough, of course; but it's just what is needed in order to afford us the time to be ourselves. If it weren't for the holiday season, there'd be very little generosity to pass around. The Yellowjackets are donating $1 from the sale of each CD to the Los Angeles area Union Station Foundation, which has provided shelter, meals and supportive housing to the homeless since 1973.
Bob Mintzer airs the melody of the album's title track, an 8-measure round with solemn overtones. Christmas is a time for peaceful scenes, which the Yellowjackets supply one after another. Jimmy Haslip takes the feature on "O Little Town of Bethlehem" with a powerful foundation that can last for millennia. Jean Baylor sings "The First Noel" without much elaboration; the holidays are a time for simplicity and a return to nature.
Why overdress a traditional carol such as that one? The Yellowjackets do each of the listed Christmas carols justice with a mellow passion for all things gentle. This isn't music for banging heads or for shouting from the rooftops. That's what the rest of the year is for.
Track Listing: Little Drummer Boy; Silent Night; Deck the Halls; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; Peace Round; The First Noel; God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Oh Little Town of Bethlehem; Winter Wonderland; In a Silent Night.
Personnel: Bob Mintzer- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Russell Ferrante- keyboards; Jimmy Haslip- bass; Marcus Baylor- drums, Jean Baylor- vocal on "The First Noel."