The Yellowjackets waste no time with A Rise in the Road. They hit you with a solid, boogie-worthy groove within the first seconds of the opening track, “When the Lady Dances.” The record carries a balance of up-tempo numbers and contemplative, slower tunes demonstrating that, after 32 years in existence, the Yellowjackets haven’t lost their golden touch.
A Rise in the Road is the group’s 22nd record. If that makes you feel old, try being saxophonist Bob Mintzer: He used to work with bassist Jaco Pastorius and remembers when Pastorius’s twin sons, Felix and Julius, were born. Now Felix is the Yellowjackets’ bassist.
This is a group that clearly spans generations, and all that time together means that it’s even easier to listen to A Rise in the Road. The song, “Longing,” is searching and atmospheric, but you never feel lost. In “An Informed Decision," there’s a sudden change in rhythm that you almost don’t notice. That cohesion could be achieved through hours of rehearsal, but with the Yellowjackets it’s more influenced by their incredible musicianship and longevity as a group.