Marcus Baylor, a native of St. Louis, began playing with Yellowjackets prior to the recording of Mint Jam, after Peter Erskine had left the band. Since that time, he became a permanent Yellowjacket and appeared on that album along with Peace Round, Time Squared, Altered State, 25 and Lifecycle, along with the DVD Paris Live. Marcus departed Yellowjackets at the beginning of 2010 to further pursue his musical career.
The members of Yellowjackets first worked together when guitarist Robben Ford assembed the group to record his album The Inside Story in 1977-78, and is essentially the founder of Yellowjackets. In addition to being a frequent guest artist with the group and remaining a very good friend, he has also recorded many critically acclaimed albums over the years.
A founding member of Yellowjackets, Jimmy Haslip’s résumé is impressive, supporting a virtual who’s who of artists in the music business both as a premier bassist as well as a gifted producer, across a mind-bending array of musical genres. Jimmy first joined up with Russ and Ricky Lawson for Robben Ford’s The Inside Story album, and remained with the band for over 30 years.
Detroit-born drummer Ricky Lawson first recorded with Russ, Jimmy and Robben Ford on the first Yellowjackets album through Shades. A professional drummer since the age of sixteen, he’d played bass with Jimmy Haslip in Roy Ayers’ group Ubiquity and also with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. He was an in-demand session player, having sat in on sessions for the Jackson 5, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Paul McCartney and Sister Sledge, among others, and he also performed live with the Brothers Johnson, Al Jarreau and Bette Midler, and appeared on Stevie Wonder’s 1984 HBO special. Ricky left Yellowjackets in 1986 to tour with Lionel Richie, and has since toured with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, and Phil Collins. He recently recorded his first solo album, and played with Steely Dan on their Two Against Nature album and tour.
It was only fitting that Felix joined Yellowjackets to fill the vacant bass chair. His father, the late Jaco Pastorius, worked with Bob Mintzer in the past, and Felix’s own talent on the bass made him a perfect fit for the group. He participated in the 2013 recording of A Rise in the Road and toured extensively with the group.
Saxophonist Marc Russo recorded with Yellowjackets beginning with the album Samurai Samba through The Spin. Born and raised in San Francisco, Russo made his mark early in his career by working with Narada Michael Walden, which landed him recording jobs on LPs by Patti Austin, Sister Sledge and Angela Bofill, among others. In 1981, he became part of the Tower Of Power horn section, touring with Huey Lewis and The News and performing with singer Marilyn Scott. He has since recorded one solo project called The Window (JVC 2035-2), and has been touring with Kenny Loggins and Dan Fogelberg. His most recent activity has been recording and touring with The Doobie Brothers.
Drummer Peter Erskine took over where Will Kennedy left off. No stranger to the music business, Peter has played with a virtual who’s who of musicians and bands in the industry. His first professional gigs included stints with the Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson orchestras. In addition to being a member of Weather Report for a handful of albums, he also joined Steps Ahead, and has recorded and toured with groups like Steely Dan, Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Burton & Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, The Boston ‘Pops’ Orchestra, Ralph Towner, Sadao Watanabe, Hubert Laws, Vanessa Williams, Al DiMeola, Eliane Elias, Miroslav Vitous and Jan Garbarek, the John Abercrombie Trio, the Kenny Wheeler Quintet & Big Band, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, as well as his own groups. Besides touring and recording, Peter is now pursuing new avenues in his career by composing for dance, theatre and animation.