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The Yellowjackets

Tue, Oct 1 -
Wed, Oct 2, 2013

Doors open at 5:30 PM each night.
First sets begin at 7:30 PM, and second sets (when applicable) begin at 9:30 PM (doors: 9:15 PM).
$24.50 Free parking

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley welcomes the Yellowjackets, touring in support of their new release, A Rise in the Road. Show times Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm. Doors at 5:30pm. Band members include: Bob Mintzer (saxophone), Russell Ferrante (piano/keyboard), Felix Pastorius (bass) and Will Kennedy (drums).

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A Rise In The Road is indeed an appropriate title for a time-honored jazz ensemble that has never been fearful of facing newer musical horizons, not to mention the myriad challenges of life itself. Throughout their storied 32-year history, the Yellowjackets have undergone numerous lineup changes, never failing to rise to the inevitable challenges of adjustment. Keyboardist Russell Ferrante and bassist Jimmy Haslip, the dual cornerstones of the group’s 21 previous recordings, were responsible for a sizable chunk of the Yellowjackets’ catalogue. Yet despite those shifts, Ferrante and Haslip, along with saxophonist Bob Mintzer (23-year member) and drummer William Kennedy (14-year member, spread out between two different time periods), soldiered on with a professionalism that has resulted in 17 Grammy® nominations—with two wins—countless sold-out tours, and worldwide critical acclaim.

Produced by Ferrante, Mintzer and Kennedy, A Rise In The Road stands shoulder-to-shoulder with their 21 previous efforts. “It’s about the challenges that people face in their lives and whatever path they are on: It’s not always smooth sailing, it’s not always a level road,” explains Ferrante, with regards to the project’s meaning. “Certainly, over the 32 years that we’ve been a band, we’ve had things come up, challenges such as musicians that have left the band, business people, relationships that you have built over the years. Things come to an end, and you have to meet the challenge and keep going forward.”

If you're expecting something cute or meaningful in the naming of the group, you may be disappointed. Russell Ferrante relates the following on how the group's name was chosen: "I wish there was a clever rationale, but there really isn't. At the time we were making our demo in hopes of landing a recording contract, we were still the ‘Robben Ford Band.’ We had recorded one record with Robben (primarily instrumental), but his record company was ‘encouraging’ him do something more pop and vocal oriented. As we also wanted to continue playing instrumental music, we all decided to form a ‘band within a band,’ so to speak. At the demo session, Jimmy brought in a sheet full of possible names, most just awful. The one that popped out was Yellowjackets, as it seemed to connotate something lively, energetic, and something with a ‘sting.’ That's really about as deep as it went. Once you choose a name, you're stuck with it so here we are, 16 years later, grown men playing in a band named ‘Yellowjackets’."

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