Sep 11, 2018
Few groups still working on the jazz scene can boast of the longevity of the Yellowjackets. Their first recording sessions were backing guitarist Robben Ford in 1977. Their first CD as a group was released in 1981, and 17 Grammy nominations (2 wins), 26 albums and almost 40 years later, they are still going strong.
The cornerstone of the band remains its keyboard player Russell Ferrante, the sole member left form that 1981 release. However, for the past 25 years or so, his main man has been saxophonist Bob Mintzer, who brought a much needed straight ahead jazz sound to the group in the 1990’s. The current lineup of the Yellowjackets includes drummer Will Kennedy, and latest member Dane Alderson on bass.
For their latest CD, Raising Our Voice, they added a new member – Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. A much in demand voice, Luciana has 6 Grammy nominations to her credit, plus a win for her contribution to Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters. Her contributions to the new album are substantial, and see, to have brought the band down a new avenue of musical exploration.
Podcast 638 is my conversation with Russell Ferrante, as we discuss the band’s legacy, the making of Raising Our Voice, and share a few stories about his stint in Joni Mitchell’s band. Musical selections include "Mutuality" and "Quiet".