The Dave Haskell Group consists of Haskell, guitars; Dan Zemelman, piano and keyboards; Aaron Germain, electric and acoustic bass; and Alan Hall, drums. Yellowjackets founding members Russell Ferrante, piano, Rhodes and keyboards, and Jimmy Haslip, electric bass (percussion on one track) appear on four tracks. On two of those four are drummer Toss Panos and guitarist Robben Ford. Ford, who wrote “Monty,” was leader of the Robben Ford Group with Ferrante and Haslip as members before the latter two turned toward instrumental music and became the Yellowjackets.
“For Barack,” an apparent tribute to United States President Barack Obama, starts off with emphasis on Hall’s stick work. It quickly evolves into a virtuoso performance by Haskell, with plenty of help from his sidemen.
“Monty” is a slick piece that’s accented by Panos’ rim shots. Haskell and Ford perform a guitar duet with Ferrante and Haslip in the background. During the middle passage, one guitar plays a subtle rhythm while the other leads.
Haskell was already an accomplished musician when he left the scene to pursue another interest, that of a commercial pilot. In the early 1990s, he hung up his wings and returned to the guitar and began reconnecting with friends – associations that already spanned two decades or more. A fixture in the San Francisco-area jazz scene, he has been heard as both a sideman and a leader.
Pivot Point, produced by Haslip, is contemporary jazz with a touch of rock, fusion and blues.