Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

140

Yellowjackets: Yellowjackets

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Most contemporary jazz or instrumental pop albums released over the past 25 years owe one thing or another to the style and sound advanced by this 1981 debut.

When keyboardist, composer and arranger Russell Ferrante pulled drummer Ricky Lawson and bassist Jimmy Haslip into his fledgling swarm, he also called on guitarist Robben Ford, with whom he played in Jimmy Witherspoon’s band, to inject a hard rock edge into the music. “It wasn’t like the earlier fusion of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, which was a very chopped kind of rock sound,” recalls Ferrante. “We were influenced by fusion that was more melodic and compositional.” Though Ford’s electric axe surely grinds and howls, this is jazz almost completely divorced from the blues—up-tempo, quick-rhythmed jazz presented with a shiny happy face.

The main soloists are Ferrrante and Ford plus the time’s upper crust of guests: Jerry Hey’s flugelhorn stings “The Hornet”; percussionists Lenny Castro and Paulinho Da Costa percolate through “Rush Hour” as Ford’s razor sharp guitar stomps the brakes against the band’s stop-time riffing; and saxophonist Ernie Watts funks around with the opening “Matinee Idol,” absolutely perfect for the open freeway on a crisp and cloudless spring morning.

The pair prowls majestically through “Imperial Strut,” advancing the keyboard/guitar excursions of Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer (think “Freeway Jam” from Blow by Blow ), while Ferrante commands the funk while “Sittin’ In It” and introduces and closes “It’s Almost Gone” with sadly beautiful solo piano.

This reissue supplements the original release with four tunes from the demo that led to this debut: Ford’s blues “Flat Tire” and samba “Blondie,” Ferrante’s “Katie” (which Ford hotly spanks) and the demo version of “Imperial Strut.”

Track Listing: Matinee Idol; Imperial Strut; Sittin' In It; Rush Hour; The Hornet; Priscilla; It's Almost Gone; Imperial Strut (demo); Flat Tire (demo); Katie (demo); Blondie (demo).

Personnel: Russell Ferrante: keyboards; Jimmy Haslip: bass; Ricky Lawson: drums; Robben Ford: guitar; Lenny Castro: percussion; Paulhino da Costa: percussion; Bobby Lyle: acoustic piano (3); Roland Bautista" guitar (3); Larry Williams: tenor saxophone, flutes; Jerry Hey: trumpet, flugelhorn, flugelhorn solo (5); Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone (1); Bill Reichenbach: trombones, horn arrangements; Gary Herbig: tenor saxophone, flute; Kim Hutchcroft: tenor/baritone saxophones; Larry Williams: additional synthesizer programming, horn arrangements.

Title: Yellowjackets | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Warner Bros.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Raising Our Voice

Raising Our Voice

Mack Avenue Records
2018

buy
A Rise In The Road

A Rise In The Road

Mack Avenue Records
2013

buy
Timeline

Timeline

Mack Avenue Records
2011

buy
Lifecycle

Lifecycle

Heads Up International
2008

buy
Twenty Five

Twenty Five

Heads Up International
2006

buy
Altered State

Altered State

Heads Up International
2005

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May29Wed
Yellowjackets, The Yellowjackets
Tivoli/vredenburg
Utrecht, Netherlands
Jun1Sat
Yellowjackets
New Morning
Paris, France
Oct29Tue
Yellowjackets, The Yellowjackets
Fasching
Stockholm, Sweden

Related Articles

Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Fire Brigade Album Reviews
Fire Brigade
By Phillip Woolever
May 25, 2019
Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019