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Ladies and gentlemen, jackets up, here they come – Yellowjackets, an iconic fusion group, has been consistently on top for over four decades.

The band appeared with the second wave of fusion and immediately gained enormous popularity, although the competition, Weather Report and Steps Ahead, was hot on its heels. The Yellowjackets (guitarist Robben Ford, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer Ricky Lawson) formed in the late 70s, reached full maturity on the second studio album, Mirage a Trois (1984), which was nominated for a Grammy. After the success of the album, Ford left the group and was replaced by saxophonist Marc Russo. The music of the Yellowjackets retained a rhythmic nerve (with the important role of Haslip’s bass), but moved away from simple funk formulas towards cantilena melodies enriched with interesting harmony (especially in the songs by Ferrante). This was noticed by fans and critics – the song And You Know That from the album Shades (1986) received a Grammy, and the album Politics (1988) brought the band a second statuette. Another important change came four years later, when Russo was succeeded by Bob Mintzer, a tenor player, also playing EWI, who gave the music a more jazzy character.

The Yellowjackets are still active, although only Ferrante has survived from the first lineup, and still has its loyal fans. It remains a mystery how they managed to survive for so long in a difficult jazz market, with ever-changing trends and a decline in fusion interest. It was certainly influenced by the expressive musical formula of the group, a stable line-up (1990-2012), workshop solidity, a high level of composition and a communicative language that was able to reconcile lovers of acoustic music and jazz on electricity.


Russell Ferrante – piano
Bob Mintzer – saxophone
Dane Alderson – bass
William Kennedy – drums


Jul 24 2023


8:00 pm

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MSiTJ Manggha

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