The Yellowjackets in Sofia: Masters of Intellectual Fusion

Written by on September 22, 2016 in Leisure, Music - No comments

The 1980-s had just begun, when guitarist Robben Ford, keyborder Russell Ferrante, bass hero Jimmy Haslip and drummer Ricky Lawson decided to form a Fusion group. The actual Fusion era was actually just ending. Some of the most brilliant Fusion albums had already been recorded, including “Enigmatic Ocean” by Jean-Luc Ponty, “Carnaval” by Spyro Gyra, “Follow the Rainbow” by George Duke and “A Funky Thide of Sings” by Billy Cobham. Yet, this quartet, the Yellowjackets, managed to come up with another Fusion album every genre enthusiast knows by heart, the self-titled record “Yellowjackets”. That brilliant recording features “Matinee Idol”, a killer Jazz-Funk tune, but also Fusion pieces at their very best.

One of their most memorable gigs of that era happened at the Monreux Jazz Festival in 1981, when they presented the material of that legendary album, and their classic “Monmouth College Fight Song”.

Over the years, they recorded a total of 22 studio albums, the last one, “Cohearence”, just a few months ago. It’s been 36 years since it all started in Los Angeles, and they have changed. Russell Ferrante is the only original member. Also, they have become more intellectual, in the sense that they are telling stories with their music, which has become more quiet, melodic, and mainly based on the great Bob Mintzer’s saxophone sound. Sophisticated “quartet Fusion” is what audiences can expect, when they see them live at Sofia Live Club, located right beneath the main entrance to the National Palace of Culture, on October 27th, 2016.

Their tour will take the guys to Hungary, Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, before they come to Bulgaria for the first time ever. Who would want to be in their shoes when they have to get to Subotica in northern Serbia, after their Sofia gig? They will probably have to be driven there. A loooong trip.

Whenever the Yellowjackets are interviewed, they are being asked where they unconventional band name comes from. There is no conclusive answer. That name was on a list of possible names three and a half decades ago. And it got picked since the other possible names were unacceptable to most band members.

Tickets are available at Eventim Bulgaria, for 50 Leva. The Yellowjackets, at Sofia Live Club, October 27th, 2016, at 21:00 hrs.

By Imanuel Marcus

The Yellowjackets, today. From left to right: Russell Ferrante, William Kennedy, Dane Alderson and Bob Mintzer.
The Yellowjackets, today. From left to right: Russell Ferrante, William Kennedy, Dane Alderson and Bob Mintzer.
Back then, in 1981.
Back then, in 1981.

 

 

 

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