Yellowjackets @ the Jazz Cafe
Jazz Café at Music Hall offers the versatile and eclectic jazz quartet, Yellowjackets for 4 intimate performances at the equally atmospheric Jazz Café at Music Hall, Friday, March 6th and Saturday, March 7th with two shows per night at 8PM and 10:30PM.
Formed in 1977 by Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip and Russell Ferrante, Yellowjackets (then known as The Robben Ford Group) burst on to the scene with their effusive combination of Jazz tinged R & B and melodic grooves. When Ford left in 1981, the first incarnation of Yellowjackets were born. Keyboardist Ferrante and bassist, Haslip have helmed the ever evolving and exploratory group which has garnered a loyal following over the last 25 years, as well as numerous Grammy Award nominations including two in 2009 for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and Best Composer for Ferrante’s composition, “Claires Closet”, both from-and for, Lifecycles with Guitarist Michael Stern. (Who will NOT be performing at Jazz Cafe)
The current line up includes, Russell Ferrante on keyboard, Jimmy Haslip on Bass, Bob Mintzer on Sax and the polyrhythmic drummer, Marcus Baylor who has been with the group since 2000. 2009 still finds Yellowjackets exploring a mélange of styles and shadings of Jazz which include R & B, blistering fusion and straight ahead jazz. It’s all sewn up by Ferrante’s melodic sense which echoes Joe Zawinul’s work with Weather Report, Haslip’s liquid bass lines which slink and pop, along with Bob Mintzer’s expressive riffs as they float above the muscular percussion of Marcus Baylor.
Hard to pigeon-hole, Yellowjackets are in a sense fusion, but are also seriously tuneful and memorable R & B with elegant touches of deft Post-Bop sensibilities and elements of a Rock undercurrent as well. Even their most recent CD, the 2009 Grammy nominated, Lifecycles with guitarist Michael Stern, is their 20th release, uncharacteristically features guitar on every track, another wonderful unexpected turn from a quartet where musical evolution is seemingly the “fifth member”of the group.
Here is a chance to experience, up close and personal, one of the longest standing jazz groups who have been known to blur the lines of musical genres and deliver a tight and compact sound with many colorful shades and styles- a trait which prompted Steely Dan majordomo, Donald Fagan to pen the song, “Shades”for them in 1986 as a paean to Yellowjackets tapestry of sounds.
Where: Jazz Café (inside Music Hall), Detroit
When: 8:00PM & 10:30PM (both nights)