The Yellowjackets, formed 30 years ago by bassist Jimmy Haslip and keyboardist Russell Ferrante, is celebrating their anniversary with the release of Timeline. The album is the band’s 21st release, and features the return of drummer Will Kennedy after a dozen years away from the band.
The 11-track album includes music penned mostly by Ferrante and saxophonist Bob Mintzer with Haslip and Kennedy both offering some compositions of their own, characteristically diverse, as the Yellowjackets have set out to do over the years.
“We get extremely engaged with every project and we try to elevate and open things up. That’s always the goal with every project,” Haslip shares. “I’m not saying we always succeed. But the focus is to always try to do something that is hopefully engaging… It’s not easy to accomplish this after thirty years.”
Although the band marks their official start taking place in 1981, the band actually got together for the first time in 1978, for Robben Ford’s Inside Story. Haslip recalls that session, saying “I wasn’t even thirty years old when we did that. I think I was 26 or 27. About a year later, in 1980 we got a deal with Warner, through Tommy Lipuma, to do an instrumental record! That was a really exciting moment, to actually realize that we had been signed by a major record label to do an instrumental project. Our first recording, Yellowjackets, was released in 1981.” That debut release received the band’s first of 17 Grammy nominations.
Preview and download Timeline: