This year at IAJE (2005), the Yellowjackets and Big Phat Band performed a concert the first night of the event. After I went to IAJE, I headed out to the concerts to watch the two groups perform for the first time (it wasn’t the first time they performed, it was the first time I saw them perform). On different occasions, I have seen a few of the musicians in the groups perform as solo artists, such as Eric Marienthal from Big Phat Band, but I had never seen them perform as part of these bands.
The Yellowjackets were the first of these two groups to perform. I was most impressed by Bob Mintzer on sax and Russell Ferrante on piano. I have been a fan of the Yellowjackets for a while, favoring their album “Time Squared”, and was very pleased when they played several tracks off the album. Bob Mintzer played mostly tenor sax, but during a few songs, he also played EWI. His EWI playing was amazing.
Big Phat Band performed immediately after the Yellowjackets, and I was very impressed with them as well. It was the first time I had ever heard a professional big band perform and it was really great getting to hear them.
If you are interested in reading more about the IAJE conference, I wrote an article about it that you can read.