With its seven, count ‘em, seven horns, the Chicago Yestet has the firepower to raise more than a minor ruckus. And as suggested by the title of its 2008 debut album, Jazz is Politics?, which samples a speech by George W. Bush, the 13-member outfit isn’t afraid to offer political commentary. But led by trombonist Joel Adams, whose groove-minded compositions incorporate big band styles, gospel music and funk, the Yestet prefers to ease on down other roads.
Adams’ credits include touring with the Woody Herman Orchestra and playing the Melba Liston “role” in Geof Bradfield’s tribute to the late, great trombonist and arranger. It’s a measure of the depth of the Yestet that most of its members are doing double-duty at this year’s festival, as leaders or accompanists. Performing in support of a new album, the Yestet includes saxophonists Bradfield, John Wojciechowski and Chris Madsen, trumpeters Marques Carroll and Russ Johnson, trombonist Tom Garling, guitarist Mike Allemana, pianist Ryan Cohan, bassist Clark Sommers, drummer Xavier Breaker, spoken word artist Rob Dz and vocalist Cherise Thomas.