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Hot! Episode #3

Episode #3

Recording Date: June 7, 2003
Location: Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia

Andre Ryabov – Guitar
Doc Gibbs – Percussion
Russell Ferrante – Keyboards
Bob Mintzer – Saxophone
Jimmy Haslip – Bass
Marcus Baylor – Drums

Castle In The Air                     BUY
Run For Your Life                     BUY
Impressions                           BUY
Blue N’ Boogie                       BUY

Buy This Episode on DVD

For our 3rd episode of Studio Jams, I reached out to one of my all-time favorite bands, The Yellowjackets.

I remember talking to Russell Ferrante on the phone and telling him all about the concept for the show. Russell was all that I expected he would be…open-minded, enthusiastic, passionate and very cooperative.  The Jackets had an evening gig in Philly that night at a theater about 8 or 9 blocks from Sigma Sound Studios where we were planning to tape the episode. So the plan was for them to simply swing by the studio for a few hours before heading over to the theater for a late afternoon soundcheck. Russell asked if the whole band could come in and do it. I said “that would be great,” just so long as I could augment the band with a couple of additional musicians. Again, just as I would expect, he was totally cool with it.

Jimmy Haslip

So we had six musicians in the studio that afternoon…Russell Ferrante on keyboards, the great Jimmy Haslip on bass, Marcus Baylor on drums, Bob Mintzer on saxophones – all members of The Yellowjackets at that time – as well as Doc Gibbs on percussion and Russian jazz guitarist Andrei Ryabov. Doc is one of the most sought after percussionists in the music industry today. A native Philadelphian, he is perhaps best known for his work with the late Grover Washington, Jr. and as leader of the house band on the Emeril, Live! television series. Andrei came to me upon the recommendation of alto-great Richie Cole, as he performs with Richie’s Alto-Madness Orchestra from time to time. And what a nice recommendation that was.

We recorded 4 tracks with this group of musicians. They opened with a song written by Andrei called Castle In The Air, one that everyone else obviously had to learn from scratch. It was so interesting to watch Andrei and Russell working together…Andrei, the “unknown” newcomer somewhat timidly teaching his song to the esteemed Yellowjackets, and Russell taking it all in and so gracefully sharing some of his arrangement ideas. The exchange was fun, serious and very cool. After about 20 minutes of rehearsal, we recorded it in two takes.

Bob Mintzer

Bob Mintzer then suggested a quick take on Run For Your Life, followed by the jazz standard Impressions. The band wrapped it up with a nice take of Blue ‘N’ Boogie. All in all, there was a lot of good rehearsal time and some excellent performances.

I was in heaven that afternoon, as again, I am a big fan of all the guys in The Yellowjackets. The biggest drag that day was the Grand Piano not being tuned by the studio earlier that morning, as it should have. As a result, Russell ended up playing mostly on the studio’s Fender Rhodes. But, like the true professional that he is, Russell just took it in stride and didn’t let it affect him in the least.

– Tom Emmi / Producer

“Every time I watch Studio Jams I learn something new. The musicians and musicianship are just top notch. I always try to take what I learn and incorporate it into my playing and into my band rehearsals. It’s nice to hear and see real music being made by REAL musicians.”

— J.F.