Yellowjackets (band)

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Leverkusener Jazztage, 2015
Leverkusener Jazztage, 2015
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresJazz fusion
Years active1977–present
LabelsMCA, GRP, Heads Up, Mack Avenue Records, Warner Bros.
MembersRussell Ferrante
Bob Mintzer
Will Kennedy
Dane Alderson
Past membersRobben Ford
Jimmy Haslip
Ricky Lawson
Michael Landau
Mike Miller
Marc Russo
Peter Erskine
Terri Lyne Carrington
Marcus Baylor
Felix Pastorius

Yellowjackets is an American jazz fusion band founded in 1977 in Los Angeles, California.


Jimmy Haslip performs at the Liri Blues Festival, Italy, in 2000.

In 1977, guitarist Robben Ford, for his first solo album, recruited keyboardist Russell Ferrante, electric bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Ricky Lawson.[1] They decided to continue as a group and were signed to Warner Bros. Records by producer Tommy LiPuma, who chose the name "Yellowjackets" from a list of potential group names the band had compiled.[2][3]

In 1984, the band's second album, Mirage a Trois, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Fusion Performance.[3] Ford only played on half this album, and after he departed the group, saxophonist Marc Russo was hired in his place.[1] The next album, Shades, reached No. 4 on the Billboard magazine jazz album chart, while the single "And You Know That" won a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. Lawson left and was replaced by Will Kennedy in 1987. Their next three albums, Four Corners, Politics, and The Spin all received Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Fusion Performance. With Russo leaving the band in 1990, Bob Mintzer replaced him for the album Greenhouse, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album chart. Mintzer has remained a band member.

The Yellowjackets celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2011 with the album Timeline for Mack Avenue. When Haslip took an extended hiatus, he was replaced by Felix Pastorius (son of bassist Jaco Pastorius.)[3] The band released A Rise in the Road with Pastorius. On some of the songs, Pastorius played the fretless bass guitar made famous by his father.[4]

In addition to their studio albums, the Yellowjackets contributed two tracks to the soundtrack of the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Grammy Awards

Grammy nominations



Present lineup[edit]

  • Russell Ferrante – keyboards, synthesizers (1977–present)
  • Bob Mintzer – saxophones, bass clarinet, EWI (1991–present)
  • William Kennedy – drums, percussion (1987–1999, 2010–present)
  • Dane Alderson – bass (2015–present)

Former members[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1284. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ Milkowski, Bill (June 1, 2006). "Yellowjackets: Looking Back and Moving Forward". JazzTimes. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Collar, Matt. "Yellowjackets". AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  4. ^ "Felix Pastorius' emotional struggle using father Jaco's bass on new Yellowjackets album". Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  5. ^ "Star Trek IV: Original Motion Picture Score". Discogs. Retrieved May 26, 2020..
  6. ^ "Yellowjackets | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2019.

External links[edit]