The Yellowjackets | 04.13.11 – 04.16.11

This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the band live, especially with Will Kennedy back on the drums.




The Yellowjackets will be playing a series of eight shows this week at Jazz at the Bistro in support of their new release, Timeline, which marks the 30th anniversary of this epic band. The new recording also features the incredible Robben Ford on guitar. For those not familiar with the Yellowjackets, their unique sound is a blend of musical influences combining elements of funk, R&B, rock, and bebop. Their music has evolved over the years but continues to push the boundaries defined by labels.

I love watching incomparable bassist Jimmy Haslip. He has an unending groove and gets such big sounds from seemingly small movements. Furthermore, he plays bass left handed but uses right-handed instruments strung normally, so the fret board is upside down and backwards—it’s a trip to see. Haslip is joined by founding member Russell Ferrante on keyboards, saxophonist Bob Mintzer, and Will Kennedy on drums (returning after having taken a decade-long break to work on other musical endeavors).

The list of jazz artists that these four have individually collaborated with for live performances and recordings is staggering. Haslip offers this inspirational piece of advice for musicians: "The learning process is never ending. The key is to always strive and search for knowledge. In learning new things everyday, there will be inspiration. That inspiration will thirst for knowledge and so the endless cycle goes. They will feed each other infinitely, and theoretically the creative well will never run dry.”

Besides Timeline, the band’s other recent releases include 2008’s Lifecycle. Also, in honor of their 25th anniversary a few years back the Yellowjackets released Twenty Five, a CD/DVD combination package that covers music spanning their entire career up to that point, including two great performances from the 2007 European tour.

Whether you’ve been a Yellowjackets fan from the beginning or you are just now discovering them, this is a fantastic opportunity to experience the band live, especially with Will Kennedy back on the drums. Jazz at the Bistro is an intimate setting with great acoustics, and as a bonus they also have great food. | Derek Lauer

The Yellowjackets will be playing at Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Ave., St. Louis. For more info call (314) 531-1012. Tickets are $30.00 Wed/Thurs; $35.00 Fri/Sat. Shows at 8:30 and 10:15 each night.



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