Jazz Band The Yellowjackets Founding Member Jimmy Haslip to Take Year-Long Hiatus

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Recently celebrating their 30th anniversary as a recording and touring group, the GRAMMY® Award winning Yellowjackets announce that bassist Jimmy Haslip will take a year-long hiatus. The longstanding member and co-founder of the band will use the time to focus on his family as well as pursue other artistic challenges. Bassist Felix Pastorius, son of legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius, has been selected to fill in for Haslip.

“The primary reason for my hiatus is so that I can spend more quality time with my family,” says Haslip. “I spent ten months on the road last year. The break will give me an opportunity to spend more time at home as well as work on other artistic endeavors, such as independently producing projects.” Haslip adds, “This was not a rash decision and there is no animosity by any means. Everybody is still friends and I’m excited for the band and their upcoming plans with Felix.”

Reflecting on joining Yellowjackets, Pastorius states, “I first saw the Jackets when I was quite young and remember meeting Bob Mintzer [the band’s saxophonist] when he played in a few of my dad’s bands and we stayed in touch over the years as I began to get serious with becoming a musician.  Bob and I played together for the first time at the 2011 JEN conference with Jeff Coffin and Mu’tet. I am humbled by the opportunity to step in for Jimmy Haslip. The chair is still his – I’m just fortunate to keep it warm for him. I’m very honored and look forward to playing some music.”

Timeline, the band’s recent release and debut on Mack Avenue Records, received two nominations for the upcoming 54th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, in the categories of “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” and “Best Instrumental Composition” (the latter for pianist Russell Ferrante’s penned title track). The two nominations mark the group’s 18th GRAMMY® Nomination overall.

Statements From Yellowjackets Band Members:

“We want to wish Jimmy Haslip all the very best as he steps away from Yellowjackets on hiatus. We will miss his spirit, superb musicianship, and leadership but we’re thrilled to have an exciting young talent like Felix Pastorius taking over the bass chair. We’re proud of the fact that in a career spanning over thirty years, Yellowjackets has always been able to adapt and grow. In that spirit we look forward to all that the future has in store for us.” – Russell Ferrante, co-founder of Yellowjackets with Haslip

“In an interview not long ago, it was stated that there was something special about this configuration of musicians in the Yellowjackets; Russ, Jimmy, Bob, and myself. It rang true because the four of us experienced so much together. We worked so well through the challenges of creating, recording, and performing the music of Yellowjackets. Well, now there is change with Jimmy taking a year hiatus and though we found comfort in what was familiar, it is with great excitement and anticipation that I welcome Felix to the bass chair.” – Will Kennedy

“I am so very grateful to have been a member of Yellowjackets for 22 of the 31 year history of the band. When the personnel would occasionally change the music would take on another shape and direction, being that this is a leaderless band where everyone plays a major role in the forming of the music. Jimmy’s dynamic playing, writing and overall presence has been key in forming the sound of Yellowjackets music from the very beginning. His hiatus from the band and the addition of Felix creates the next opportunity for the music to go in yet another direction. Having played with Felix’ dad, Jaco, I feel an interesting bond with this talented young man. We welcome Felix to Yellowjackets, and wish Jimmy all the very best during his hiatus.” – Bob Mintzer

For more information on Yellowjackets, visit yellowjackets.com.

DL Media

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