While this album has never been named to any "best-of" lists for jazz fusion, I came across this music at just the right time in my life. When this was released, I was just discovering instrumental pop/smooth jazz through the music of Tom Scott, Spyro Gyra, and David Sanborn. At the same time, I was heavily into New Wave music with all its analog synthesizers and sequencing. This album seemed to combine the two: instrumental jazz with the synth as the main melodic instrument. Keyboardist Russell Ferrante played a lot of different instruments that were cutting edge at the time (Yamaha GS-1 and CE-20, OBX, and Prophet) which date the sound but in a good way, if that makes any sense. At this time, the group was basically a synth-bass-drums trio with lots of guest artists appearing on certain tracks, but in later releases, the group would add a sax player. To me, they never sounded this good again.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #134
Peak on the Billboard Jazz LPs chart: #7
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #152
Tracks: I've heard this from top to bottom so many times, it's hard to pick favorites. The songs are all very uplifting and enjoyable. Today, I'll single out Claire's Song, Pass It On, Goin' Home,and Man In The Moon.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Back in the early '80s, I dubbed a cassette of my high school band director's LP. It got a lot of playing time in my car stereo as well as my walkman, mainly in the summer of 1984. I stayed with the group for a few more releases after this (Samurai Samba, Shades, and Politics), but I eventually lost interest in them. This was the group's second album, but there's no sophomore slump here - this is by far my favorite Yellowjackets release.
Previously revisited for the blog: