Mt. Bachelor Riverhouse Jazz Series Presents the Yellowjackets
Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 6:30pm
- Performances are all Ages
Bob Mintzer: Saxophones ⎮ Russell Ferrante: Piano/Keys ⎮ Dane Alderson Electric: Bass ⎮ Will Kennedy: Drums
“Their music is so admired that it is used in composition classes at placed like Berklee…these guys play off each other with the sense of old friends who finish each other’s sentences.” (The Arts Fuse)
Yellowjackets was formed in 1977, known originally as the Robben Ford Group, after the band’s founder, who is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all-time, and is well-known for crossing over from jazz to blues, to various jazz forms.
During their more than 35 year run, the Yellowjackets have developed a special chemistry, receiving continuous critical acclaim in a manner unsurpassed in the jazz genre, in spite of going through numerous personnel changes. This includes more than 14 Grammy award nominations. Originally labeled as “fusion,” at times the band has moved toward R&B (especially during a period with former Tower of Power alto saxophonist Marc Russo), blues and progressive rock.
Yellowjackets released their latest recording, Coherence, in April 2016, with 10 originally composed and arranged compositions. The album is grounded in jazz by Mintzer’s sax, but also references the bands jazz-funk heyday of the 1980’s.
The constant is founding member pianist/keyboardist Russell Ferrante, who remains with the band today. Ferrante originally performed with American blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon and Ford, has also toured with Joni Mitchell, and is a busy freelance writer, arranger and producer for numerous recordings with the likes of Bobby McFerrin and Al Jarreau.
20 years ago, the band added saxophonist Bob Mintzer. His fresh perspective energized the band to even higher levels. Bob has written over 200 big band arrangements, after honing his skills with the likes of Tito Puente and Buddy Rich. As an instrumentalist, Bob has worked with amazing jazz, classical and rock legends, including Art Blakey, Jaco Pastorium, The New York Philharmonic, James Taylor, Steve Winwood, Queen and Donald Fagan. He is the recipient of the Buzz McCoy endowed chair of jazz studies at UCLA.
Drummer William Kennedy is often referred to as the inspirational drive of the band. He is truly one of a select group from the “who’s who” of the contemporary jazz world, known for musicality and finesse. He was originally in the band for over nine years, recording 10 records during that span, took some time away, and then returned in 2010. He won Modern Drummer magazine’s reader’s poll for best drummer in the electric jazz category three years in a row.
Dane Alderson, hailing from Australia, is a virtuoso bassist who joined the band in April 2015. He was one of the founding members of the acclaimed Perth-based group Void, has toured the jazz festival circuit throughout the world. Alderson has performed regularly with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the likes of Stanley Jordan, Tim Jago and Victor Wooten.