LARGO — American jazz fusion outfit the Yellowjackets will take the stage Sunday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m., at Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo.
Tickets start at $34.50 plus service fee. Visit LargoArts.com or call 727-587-6793.
Throughout their storied 35+ year history, the Yellowjackets have recorded 22 albums, received 17 Grammy nominations, won two Grammys, performed countless sold-out tours, and enjoyed worldwide critical acclaim and commercial success. The Yellowjackets formed in the late 1970s as the backup band for guitarist Robben Ford. They recorded their first album together in 1980. Shortly after that recording, however, Ford decided to part ways and go in a different musical direction.
As a result, the modern day Yellowjackets were formed — a trio with Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip and Ricky Lawson. Since then, and with the addition of Bob Mintzer, the Yellowjackets have gained and maintained prominence as one of jazz’s most influential and loved groups.
Over the years the band has undergone numerous lineup changes. Never failing to rise to the inevitable challenges of adjustment, the Yellowjackets have maintained an extraordinarily high quality of musicianship that is the rival of many but a surprise to no one who knows and appreciates the band and their music.
The most recent addition to the band adds Australian bass player Dane Alderson to the mix. With his exceptional rhythmic sensibility and natural disposition toward groove, Alderson brings a new energy to the band and adds a youthful approach to the music.
“Jackets XL,” the Yellowjackets most recent album, was released in 2020 by Mack Avenue Records. On their 25th album, the band continues to stretch and reinvent itself with a full-bodied collaboration with the superb WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany. The project combines the Yellowjackets’ strengths with the renowned big band, re-imagining well-known band originals with dynamic new arrangements that feature twists and turns, textures and colors, moving harmonies and bold solos.
“This band has never been one to rest on its laurels,” said Mintzer, a Yellowjacket since 1990 and the WDR Big Band principal conductor since 2016. “The Yellowjackets are very adept at reinventing … Any setting, any style, we know we can do it. As for the WDR, they’re one of the best large jazz ensembles in the world. I knew the two groups would make for a nice marriage.”
“Jackets XL” is a follow-up to the 2018 album “Raising Our Voice,” also released on Mack Avenue Records. “Raising Our Voice” featured vocalist extraordinaire Luciana Souza. Souza collaborated with the group for seven of the 13 songs on the album, with the contents subtly taking a resistant stand against the status quo of the cultural and political undercurrent of our times.