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26.7.11

The Yellowjackets



The Yellowjackets - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Yellowjackets - 2006 - Hip-O

The original group, called The Robben Ford Group, was formed in 1977, and consisted of Robben Ford, Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip and Ricky Lawson. Ford had originally assembled the group to record Inside Story, but signed to a separate record contract, ended up listed as a guest artist. Eventually he was replaced by saxophone player Marc Russo. Ricky Lawson left in 1986 to tour with Lionel Richie. Some of their songs were featured on The Weather Channel's Local On The 8s segments. Founded in 1981 as an R&B-oriented band that starred guitarist Robben Ford, the group took a giant step forward when, after Ford's departure, altoist Marc Russo took his place. With original members Russell Ferrante on keyboards and electric bassist Jimmy Haslip, in addition to drummer William Kennedy, the band found its own R&B-ish sound, sometimes playing original compositions that sounded like Joe Zawinul at his most melodic. Starting out on Warner Brothers in the early '80s, the Yellowjackets moved to MCA/GRP in 1986, where they released a string of well-received albums. They also appeared with two songs on the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. They are frequently on stage at festivals like Indy Jazz Fest. In the '90s, Russo chose to go out on his own and plays regularly with The Doobie Brothers, and his replacement, Bob Mintzer (on tenor and bass clarinet), added more jazz credibility to the group's music. They moved back to Warner Brothers in 1995 for several albums before moving the Heads Up label for the live two-CD set Mint Jam in 2002. 2003 saw the release of their first studio album in five years, Time Squared. Three years later, the band celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary as an ensemble with the release of the live album Twenty Five. In May 2008, the Yellowjackets released their 20th release, Lifecycle, also on HeadsUp International. Lifecycle features guitarist and label-mate Mike Stern, making it the first Yellowjackets record in 15 years to feature guitar (1994's Run For Your Life featured Robben Ford on the track Even Song). The album has been nominated for the 2009 GRAMMY Awards in the category of Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Russell Ferrante has also been nominated in the category of Best Instrumental Composer for the track "Claire's Closet." - [from Wikipedia]

This addition to the seemingly never ending 20th Century Masters series finds Universal digging into the GRP archives for this Yellowjackets compilation, which is decidedly different than 1999's Best of Yellowjackets collection and resembles in slightly modified form GRP's 1995 greatest-hits compilation, aptly titled Collection. The band is joined by several guests on many of these tracks, and they only add to the already pleasant smooth jazz that the group so effortlessly exudes. Most die-hard fanatics will already own these tracks thanks to previous greatest-hits collections, but those just getting their feet wet will be well served in checking this out. © Rob Theakston © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/20th-century-masters-the-millennium-collection-the-best-of-the-yellowjackets-r823431

The Yellowjackets music is often classified a "smooth jazz" or "lite jazz". However, The Yellowjackets don't play the often bland and unoriginal "same old, same old" "elevator" brand of smooth jazz, so common in the genre, and much of the band's music could more rightly be called serious "light jazz fusion". On this compilation 12 track album, the band cover tracks ranging from the fusion track, "Jacket Town" to the electronica and African influenced "Wildlife." The mostly instrumental pieces are intelligent, well structured, and composed individually and collectively by Ferrante, Haslip, Kennedy, Russo, and Lawson. Michael Franks sings on the live "The Dream" track, and the great clarinetist, Bob Mintzer, who joined the band in the '90's also appears on the album. All these tracks have been previously released on studio and compilation albums, but still a very worthwhile collection, and HR by A.O.O.F.C. [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 155 Mb]Listen to the band's great "Greenhouse" and "Club Nocturne" albums

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 And You Know That - Ferrante, Lawson 5:34
2 Wildlife - Acuna, Ferrante, Haslip 6:04
3 Sightseeing - Ferrante, Haslip 5:52
4 Oz - Ferrante, Haslip, Kennedy, Russo 4:43
5 Foreign Correspondent - Ferrante, Haslip, Kennedy, Russo 5:45
6 The Spin - Ferrante, Haslip, Kennedy, Russo 4:46
7 Storytellers - Ferrante 6:44
8 Freedomland - Ferrante 6:07
9 Indian Summer - Ferrante 5:37
10 The Dream (Live) - Ferrante, Haslip, Kennedy, Russo 5:16
11 My Old School - Ferrante, Haslip 7:12
12 Jacket Town - Ferrante, Kennedy 5:20

MUSICIANS

Jimmy Haslip - 6-String Bass, 5-string Bass, Bass, Fretless Bass, Vocals
Bob Mintzer - Bass, Bass Clarinet, EWI, Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax, Synthesizer, Bass Flute, Alto Flute
Arni Egilsson, Timothy Barr - Bass
Naná Vasconcelos - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
Russell Ferrante - Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizer
Bill Gable - Keyboards, Cello, Percussion, Vocals
Rory Kaplan - Keyboards, Synthesizer
Steve Croes - Synthesizer, Synclavier
Gary Barlough - Synthesizer, Synclavier Programming
Marc Russo - Soprano Sax, Alto Sax
Marcus Baylor - Drums
Ricky Lawson, William Kennedy - Drums, Percussion
Alex Acuña - Percussion, Vocals
Paulinho Da Costa - Percussion
Bruce Dukov, Stuart Canin, Arnold Belnick, Sheldon Sanov, Kathleen Lenski, Karen Jones, Clayton Haslop, Bill Hybel, Irma Neumann, Anatoly Rosinsky, Dorothy Wade, Polly Sweeney - Violin
Mihail Zinovyev, Pamela Goldsmith, Dan Neufeld, Brian Dembow - Viola
John Cooke, David Speltz, Dane Little, Judith Perett - Cello
James Kanter, Gary Gray - Clarinet
Tim Hagans - Trumpet
Michael O'Donovan - Bassoon
Jim Walker - Flute
Bruce Hornsby - Accordion
Take 6, Perri, Brenda Russell, Diana Acuna - Vocals
Michael Franks - Vocals on Track 10
Brenda Russell, Marilyn Scott - Background Vocals
Judd Miller - EWI, Programming

SHORT BIO

Although sometimes grouped with Spyro Gyra, Yellowjackets are actually one of the most creative regular groups in the "rhythm & jazz" genre. Founded in 1981 as an R&B-oriented band that starred guitarist Robben Ford, the group took a giant step forward when, after Ford's departure, altoist Marc Russo took his place. With original members Russell Ferrante on keyboards and electric bassist Jimmy Haslip, in addition to drummer William Kennedy, the band found its own R&B-ish sound, sometimes playing original compositions that sounded like Joe Zawinul at his most melodic. Starting out on Warner Bros. in the early '80s, Yellowjackets moved to MCA/GRP in 1986, where they released a string of well-received albums. In the '90s, Russo chose to go out on his own, and his replacement, Bob Mintzer (on tenor and bass clarinet), added more jazz credibility to the group's music. They moved back to Warner Bros. in 1995 for several albums before moving to the Heads Up label for the live two-CD set Mint Jam in 2002. Their first studio album in five years, Time Squared, was released in 2003. Three years later, the band celebrated its 25th anniversary as an ensemble with the release of the live album Twenty Five. The studio album Lifecycle followed in 2008. In 2011, the band marked its 30th year with the release of Timeline on Mack Avenue. © Scott Yanow © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/yellowjackets-p7862/biography