November 16, 2020. There’s a lot of information out there about bees these days, so it’s best to get a few things straight. The Asian giant hornet, the so-called “murder hornet,” is a dangerous potential scourge to the Pacific Northwest’s ecosystem. New video evidence shows a group of just several dozen murder hornets laying waste to a colony of 30,000 honey bees with cold, ruthless efficiency. These insects carry a potent venom and are not to be trifled with.

Yellowjackets, on the other hand, haven’t proven to cause harm to honey bees nor to any other earthly organism. In fact, many humans, especially those with musical tastes tending toward jazz have come to grow quite fond of their work over the past four decades. You see, the Yellowjackets I’m speaking of aren’t an invasive species; they aren’t predatory flying insects or collegiate athletics mascots of any kind. They are a band. A jazz quartet with multiple Grammy Awards to their credit. They’ve been around since 1981 and have just recently released their 25th album, Yellowjackets XL.

The saxophonist Bob Mintzer, a professor in USC’s jazz program and Yellowjacket since 1990, has held a third job since 2016: principal conductor of the Cologne, Germany-based WDR Big Band.

On Yellowjackets XL, Mintzer has allowed, in fact encouraged, that to happen which George Costanza famously said never must. He’s allowed worlds to collide. And so that’s how it came to be
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