Legendary Jazz Group YELLOWJACKETS to Release New Album, “A Rise In The Road” on June 25th | HEAR SONG SAMPLES!

YELLOWJACKETS 

EMBARK ON NEW CHAPTER WITH LATEST PROJECT, 

 A RISE IN THE ROAD

 AVAILABLE JUNE 25 ON MACK AVENUE RECORDS



 

 Debut Project With New Band Member – 

Bassist Felix Pastorius

 

 Album Features Special Guest 

Ambrose Akinmusire on Three Tracks


LISTEN/STREAM Tracks from New CD by clicking HERE

 

 

A Rise In The Road, the Yellowjackets
second Mack Avenue Records offering, 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.

 

Last year Jimmy Haslip
announced he was taking a hiatus to focus on other projects and spend
more time with his family. Alas, all good things must come to an end, as
he has decided to make his hiatus permanent. Although his leaving is
seismic within the scope of the Yellowjackets‘ history-“A Rise In The Road,” if you please-change is no stranger to this consistently innovative and adaptable collective. A Rise In The Road introduces a new member-bassist Felix Pastorius-to replace Haslip.
Pastorius, whose last name is widely familiar to jazz aficionados,
steps in to contribute his talents to the group’s continuing sonic
ventures (more on Felix Pastorius in a moment).


 


In 2010, the Yellowjackets signed to Mack Avenue Records and in 2011 released Timeline, which reached #5 on Billboard‘s jazz chart; the title cut received substantial national jazz radio airplay, making the song a staple on Billboard‘s “Smooth Jazz Songs” chart. Now the Yellowjackets unveil A Rise In The Road, a 10-track study that burnishes the group’s sterling reputation for high quality tonal explorations and ensemble execution.


 


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.”
 



Felix Pastorius is the newest Yellowjackets member. He is the son of legendary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius,
most known for his affiliation with jazz-fusion contemporaries, Weather
Report. Prior to his death in 1986, Jaco had enlisted Mintzer to play
saxophone in several of his post-Weather Report big band incarnations.
Mintzer was familiar with Felix Pastorius as a top-flight
musician, having sat in as a guest performer in the Jeff Coffin Mu’ Tet
where Felix was the bassist. “The music industry is a small place. We
held auditions with a few bass players, and Felix’s name came up,”
reflects Mintzer. “He was the one that rose to the top, really played
well, and seemed like he had the personality that fit well. I believe we
made the right choice.” In a statement released upon officially joining
the Yellowjackets in early 2012, Pastorius commented: “I am humbled by the opportunity to step in for Jimmy Haslip.” A Rise In The Road also
marks the first time in nearly 30-years that Jaco’s bass was played on a
new recording. The instrument can be heard on several tracks. Robert
Trujillo (bassist for Metallica), who owns Jaco’s bass, is a Pastorius
family friend and generously loaned Felix the bass for the session.


 


As one half of the Yellowjackets rhythm engine, Will Kennedy stood to feel the impact of Jimmy Haslip‘s
departure and Pastorius’ addition directly. “When we got word that
Jimmy was moving on, it was a shock to all of us because he had such a
big footprint in our band. We weren’t quite sure what the possibilities
were or what it would be like.” The three eased Pastorius into the fold
by gigging with him for eight months during 2012, a move that allayed
fears as the band gradually became comfortable playing together. “That
shined some light on the situation,” Kennedy continues. “As opposed to a
detriment, it was more of an opportunity for us to grow and expand with
a different combination of voices within our group. It turned out to be
a pleasant experience, and it continued on into the recording process.”


 


Prior
to the recording process, each member arrived armed with the knowledge
that whatever composition one brings to the table will receive proper
respect. “It’s very democratic,” Mintzer says, describing the song
selection process. “Once a song is brought to the table, it’s free rein,
basically. It’s a given that the composer relinquishes his initial take
when a song is given to the committee. Everyone is welcome to make
adjustments and suggestions.”


 


Ferrante
penned “An Informed Decision,” “An Amber Shade of Blue,” “You’ll Know
When It’s Time” and “Longing;” Kennedy contributed the sensual
“Madrugada;” while Mintzer penned “When the Lady Dances,” “Civil War,”
“Thank You” and “I Knew His Father.” Mintzer titled “I Knew His Father”
as both a tribute to Jaco Pastorius and a warm welcome into the Yellowjackets for Felix.


 


Additionally,
Ferrante composed “Can’t We Elope,” a play off Herbie Hancock’s famed
“Cantaloupe Island.” Ferrante explains, “‘Can’t We Elope’ is kind of a
bad pun. I borrowed the bass line and the feeling of the song from the
Herbie’s tune; the title plays off that.” “Can’t We Elope” features
rising star trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, who also contributes
creative flows on “An Informed Decision” and “An Amber Shade of Blue.”
Akinmusire is a past winner of both the prestigious Thelonious Monk
International Jazz Competition and the Carmen Caruso International
Trumpet Solo Competition. “He’s a young trumpeter who’s been making a
lot of noise,” Ferrante reveals. “It was a real honor to have him record
with us; he’s a super-talented musician.” From a historical
perspective, while the band has rarely incorporated the trumpet on their
previous albums, Akinmusire’s appearance marks the second consecutive Yellowjackets album to feature the instrument.


 


“The
actual recording process went smoothly,” Ferrante relates. “Felix did a
lot of homework; he had charts and demos of the new music.” Mintzer
adds, “On several of our records there were extensive overdubs. But on 
A Rise In The Road,
it was mainly just the four of us playing live. There were a couple of
little overdubs, but not nearly as much as previous albums. We
accomplished a big, big sound. It sounds pretty wide for just four
guys!” Ferrante agrees: “The music changes to accommodate new people.
We’re really pleased with the way 
A Rise In The Road came out.”


 


“We
do miss Jim, without a doubt,” concludes Mintzer. “Whenever you change
personnel in a partnership band like this one, things change
dramatically. But somehow, this core of what the
Yellowjackets
is about remains; it transforms in one direction or another. But there
is this strong sense of collaboration and strength in numbers that I
seldom find in groups where there typically is a leader.
A Rise In The Road is the next chapter of the Yellowjackets. We welcome Felix Pastorius
to the fray and are grateful to have the opportunity to express
ourselves in a way that reflects where we are all at in this very
moment.”


 


 


Upcoming Yellowjackets Appearances



 March 28 / Nefertiti Jazz Club / Goteburg, Sweden

March 29 / Fasching JazzKlubb / Stockholm, Sweden

April 9 – 13 / Marian’s Jazz Room / Bern, Switzerland

April 23 – 27 / Birdland / New York, NY

May 22 – 23 / Jazziz Nightlife / Boca Raton, FL
May 25 / Jacksonville Jazz Festival / Jacksonville, FL
June 25 / Rochester Jazz Festival / Rochester, NY
July 5 / Syracuse Jazz Festival / Syracuse, NY
July 6 / Windsor Jazz Jam / Windsor, CT
July 7 / Blue Mountain Jazz / Blue Mountain, Canada
July 19 / Highland Theater / Albuquerque, NM

July 20 / One World Theater / Austin, TX

July 21 / Dosey Doe / Woodlands, TX

August 4 / Hartwood Acres Amphitheater / Pittsburgh, PA

August 16 – 17 / Sculler’s Jazz Club / Boston, MA

August 18 / Hollywood Bowl / Los Angeles, CA

August 31 / Tuscumbia Country Club Festival / Green Lake, WI

September 25 – 28 / Jazz at the Bistro / St. Louis, MO

October 3 / Kuumbwa / Santa Cruz, CA

October 4 / Gallo Center PAC / Modesto, CA

October 19 / Tversted Jazzy Days / Tversted, Denmark

October 27 / TBA / Katowice, Poland

November 9 / Lawrence University Jazz Series / Appleton, WI

  

 


A Rise In The Road – Track Listing & Personnel

1. What The Lady Dances (Bob Mintzer)

2. Civil War (Bob Mintzer)

3. Can’t We Elope (Russell Ferrante)

4. An Informed Decision (Russell Ferrante)

5. Longing (Russell Ferrante)

6. Thank You (Bob Mintzer)

7. Madrugada (William Kennedy)

8. An Amber Shade (Russell Ferrante)

9. (You’ll Know) When It’s Time (Russell Ferrante)

10. I Knew His Father (Bob Mintzer)


Russell Ferrante
 – Piano, Keyboards

Bob Mintzer – Sax

William Kennedy – Drums, Keyboards

Felix Pastorius – Bass

 

Special Guest:

Ambrose Akinmusire  

– Trumpet on 3, 4, 8

 


 


Yellowjackets · A Rise In The Road


Mack Avenue Records · Release Date: June 25, 2013


 


For more information on Yellowjackets, visit yellowjackets.com

DL Media

 

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