Throughout their storied 43-year history, the Yellowjackets have recorded 25 albums, received 17 Grammy® nominations – won 2 – performed countless sold-out tours, and enjoyed worldwide critical acclaim and commercial success. The Yellowjackets will perform on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023 at the 12th John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival.
The Yellowjackets formed in the late 1970’s as the backup band for guitarist Robben Ford. They recorded their first album together in 1980. Shortly after that recording, however, Ford decided to part ways and go in a different musical direction. As a result, the modern day Yellowjackets were formed — a trio with Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip and Ricky Lawson. Since then, and with the addition of Bob Mintzer, the Yellowjackets have gained and maintained prominence as one of jazz’s most influential and loved groups.
Over the years the band has undergone numerous lineup changes. Never failing to rise to the inevitable challenges of adjustment, the Yellowjackets – Russell Ferrante, William Kennedy, Bob Mintzer – have maintained an extraordinarily high quality of musicianship that is the rival of many but a surprise to no one who knows and appreciates the band and their music.
The most recent addition to the band adds Australian bass player Dane Alderson
into the mix. With his exceptional rhythmic sensibility and natural disposition toward groove, Dane brings a new energy to the band and adds a youthful approach to the music.
Yellowjackets: HISTORY OF THE BAND
In 1977, Robben Ford assembled a group of veteran session musicians to record his album The Inside Story. The trio of musicians, which included keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Ricky Lawson, soon discovered a certain “chemistry” and musical affinity that led to their formation of Yellowjackets. The Inside Story being mainly instrumental, Robben Ford’s record label wanted him to record another album that was more pop and vocal oriented. The group, known as the Robben Ford Group, preferred to pursue the instrumental route, and a “band within a band” was formed. This same group with Robben Ford on guitar recorded digital demos that were eventually accepted by Warner Brothers, and Yellowjackets was born. While Robben’s contributions would diminish over the years to being a guest artist, the group known as Yellowjackets would flourish.