The Pace Report: "Timeline to 30" The Yellowjackets Interview

In 1977 guitarist Robben Ford formed The Robben Ford Group. The original line-up consisted of Russell Ferrante on keyboards/piano, Jimmy Haslip on bass, and drummer Ricky Lawson. The group recorded only one album together but the music and the nucleus of the band was to become something else. Ford left the group and keyboardist Russell Ferrante took the ball and created The Yellowjackets. After 30 years of playing together as a group, there have been some personnel changes and musical styles that have past through the band, but The Yellowjackets have kept the elements of fusion jazz alive. Each of the members have brought their own take on musical styles ranging from straight ahead jazz, fusion, soul, world music, and classical.

Their latest Mack Avenue Records release “Timeline” features two of the original founding members of the group including Russell and Jimmy. Drummer Will Kennedy, who played with the group for 10 years then left, came back to the Jackets. Saxophonist Bob Mintzer joined the group in 1991 and has been a staple in the groups compositions and fiery presence in The Yellowjackets diverse sound. “Timeline” also reunites founding member Robben Ford for one track on disc as he brings the groups vision and unity full circle. One of the standout tracks is the group’s tribute to jazz drummer Elvin Jones in a composition titled “LIke Elvin.” Both Mintzer and Kennedy cook on this straight-ahead based composition.

The 17 time Grammy-Award nominee and two time Grammy-Award winner wanted this Mack Avenue debut to be “tour-de-force” of music and a stepping stone to keep fans on their toes as they embark on their 30th Anniversary Tour.

Some of the famous Yellowjacket alums include Marc Russo, Peter Erkstine, and Marcus Baylor.

To order The Yellowjacket’s latest Mack Avenue release “Timeline” on Amazon.com and i Tunes. For upcoming tour dates visit them on the web at www.yellowjackets.com.

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