Music News

Mike Stern

The Yellowjackets have been around for just over thirty years, and, coincidentally, their albums have bored me for just as long. So I was surprised when "Double Nickel" and "Dreams Go," a couple of tunes from the group's latest album, Lifecycle, turned out to be well above average — at least until I saw that they were both penned by guest guitarist Mike Stern, who joins the 'jackets on stage tonight. Stern earned mainstream attention during the early '80s as the young ax-wielder in Miles Davis's band, and while many critics initially dismissed him as a poor man's John McLaughlin, he's gone on to a thoroughly respectable career thanks to his skill at injecting the spirit of adventure into jazz's most commercial forms. Who Let the Cats Out?, Stern's solo release from a couple of years back, is more consistently enjoyable than Lifecycle. Nonetheless, making the Yellowjackets worth hearing in 2008 is an achievement in and of itself.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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