I was first introduced to the quartet, The Yellow Jackets while stationed in northern Japan in the late ’80s. One of my great friends, who has since transitioned, Elwood K. Tutt, turned me onto them, along with other great things in life. Today, 4 Sept 21, I had the pleasure of hearing the founding member play live, and man, I was really impressed. Playing with the extremely talented Jeff Lorber was Jimmy Haslip, a bassist that took me back to what contemporary jazz once was, a twist on traditional jazz. Haslip played a mean bass line today and garnered several solos for the afternoon.
I found his story very interesting when he decided in 2012 to take a hiatus for family time. After spending some 10 months on the road, he knew it was time for a break to do the family thing. JazzTimes stated, “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.”
Haslip never went back to the Yellow Jackets, but by hearing him play today, I‘ll be pulling out the old CDs and taking a trip back in time. Jimmy has been involved in Jazz, Pop, Latin, and Fusion and has played with some of the greats in jazz, including Al Jarreau and Jeff Lorber to name just a couple. This is amazing because he is a proclaimed, self-taught bassist who started his bass quest in high school, after first playing the drums. Being a left-hander, he like Wayman Tisdale, learned to play the bass upside down and he still plays that way today. A musician who produced more than 70 songs with the Jackets and more than 27 since he left the group, Jimmy Haslip is still very involved in music. Check out this clip of Jimmy in action.