Spirit Of The West – 2011

The Yellowjackets


A feature for the classic version of the popular group

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The Yellowjackets began as the backup band for guitarist Robben Ford for an album in 1977.

With Ford in the first version of the group which also had keyboardist Russell Ferrante, electric bassist Jimmy Haslip, and drummer Ricky Lawson, they became quite popular, building on their fame after Ford departed and was succeeded by altoist Marc Russo.

While considered a top fusion band, the Yellowjackets never really fit in that category, mixing together funky jazz with aspects of r&b and continuing to evolve after tenor-saxophonist Bob Mintzer took Russo’s place in 1990.

The personnel stayed stable for a long time and through many successes with Will Kennedy eventually becoming the group’s drummer; Haslip and Kennedy have since departed but the band’s musical identity remains very much intact.

Here are the Yellowjackets in 2011 performing “Spirit Of The West,” a feature both for Haslip’s bass and the distinctive ensemble sound of the group.

-Scott Yanow


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