James Robert Haslip (born December 31, 1951) is an American bass guitarist who was a founding member of the jazz fusion group the Yellowjackets,[1] which he left in 2012. He was also an early user of the five-string electric bass.[2]

Jimmy Haslip
Haslip performing in 2008
Haslip performing in 2008
Background information
Birth nameJames Robert Haslip
Born (1951-12-31) December 31, 1951 (age 72)
Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz fusion, world, rock, R&B, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer
Instrument(s)Bass guitar
Years active1977–present
LabelsHeads Up

Early life and career

Jimmy Haslip with Eric Marienthal in 2012
Jimmy Haslip at Jazzy Days Festival in Denmark 2018

Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican immigrants, Spanish was Haslip's first language and he learned to speak English in kindergarten. His father, James Joseph (Jaime) Haslip (1915–1999) served in the United States Customs Service, beginning as a Merchant Marine until moving to patrolman and eventually deputy commissioner, marrying Jimmy's mother Virginia (Viera) Haslip (1912–2009) in 1937.[3]

Haslip moved to Huntington, New York when he was four years old. At age seven, he began playing drums and then moved onto other instruments such as trumpet and tuba[4] until playing bass at age 15.[5] Although he took music lessons and went to a private music school, he considers himself self-taught. He has said that he went to a local music shop with his father and purchased a right-handed bass (he is left-handed) and learned to play it upside down (without restringing).[6]

In an interview with magazine JazzTimes, Haslip said he was surrounded by music as a young boy, from visiting nightclubs and concert venues to his peers. He explains that there was music in his house as well, from his older brother Gabriel listening to classic jazz, his father listening to Latin and orchestra jazz and his aunt listening to "sappy stuff like Jerry Vale and Johnny Mathis".[6] In high school, Haslip created his first band called Soul Mine with his high school classmates, playing soul music at school dances and parties.[4]

In the early 1970s Haslip played with New York glam band Street Punk, he toured alongside musicians, and moved to Los Angeles in 1976, where he played with guitarists Tommy Bolin and Harvey Mandel.[5] in addition to the Yellowjackets, he has worked with Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Bruce Hornsby, Rita Coolidge, Gino Vannelli, Kiss, Tommy Bolin, Allan Holdsworth, Marilyn Scott, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Donald Fagen, and Anita Baker.

Haslip has released two solo albums: Arc,[7] and Red Heat, with Joe Vannelli, in 2000.[8][9] He was active with the Yellowjackets between 1977 and 2012. He was part of a combo with Allan Holdsworth, Alan Pasqua, and Chad Wackerman.[10] Other collaborations include Jing Chi (with Robben Ford and Vinnie Colaiuta)[11] and Modereko. Haslip was a member of the rock group Blackjack from 1979–1980 with Bruce Kulick, Sandy Gennaro, and Michael Bolton.[12] He also toured with guitarist Allan Holdsworth and drummer Virgil Donati.[13]

In 2012, Haslip took a year-long hiatus from Yellowjackets, which later turned permanent.[14] Haslip wanted to devote more time to his family and other musical projects. He was replaced in Yellowjackets by Felix Pastorius, the son of Jaco Pastorius. Regarding this topic, he stated: "The primary reason for my hiatus is so that I can spend more quality time with my family", says Haslip. "I spent ten months on the road last year. The break will give me an opportunity to spend more time at home as well as work on other artistic endeavors, such as independently producing projects". Haslip adds, "This was not a rash decision and there is no animosity by any means. Everybody is still friends and I'm excited for the band and their upcoming plans with Felix".[15]

Personal life and interests


In a 1997 article, Haslip mentioned he has been a vegetarian since 1972 and leads a healthy life and enjoys exercising. He also said he has lost some of his music idols and mentors to drugs and violence including fellow bass player Jaco Pastorius.[3]

In 2001, Haslip performed at a benefit concert for Union Station Foundation, a Pasadena, California-based organization for the homeless, alongside actors Hector Elizondo and Jeff Goldblum. Haslip also released a compilation album called "Junction" with all the proceeds going to the Union Station Foundation.[16][17]

Haslip has a wife named Nancy, and they have three children. Haslip is also a fan of sports including football and baseball.[18]


  1. ^ Phares, Heather. "Jimmy Haslip". Allmusic. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  2. ^ Almador, Valery (July 6, 2012). "Renegade Creation Launches Second CD BULLET with Bassist Jimmy Haslip". bassmusicianmagazine.com. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Kaufman, Marjorie (April 13, 1997). "Huntington Jazz Artist Getting His Due". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Jisi, Chris (2003). Brave New Bass: Interviews & Lessons with the Innovators, Trendsetters & Visionaries. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9781617745065. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "The Yellowjackets". orlandosentinel.com. June 2, 1985. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Bassist Jimmy Haslip on his early musical development & experiences on YouTube
  7. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Arc". Allmusic. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Red Heat, Jimmy Haslip and Joe Vannelli. Unitone Recordings, 2000
  9. ^ Edelstein, Paula. "Red Heat". Allmusic. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  10. ^ Ratliff, Ben (February 1, 2010). "From Jazz-Rock Fusion to Progressive Metal, With a Virtuosic Accompaniment". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  11. ^ Woodard, Josef (April 11, 2002). "The Musical Moods of Robben Ford". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  12. ^ Bolton, Michael (2013). The Soul of It All: My Music, My Life. Hachette Book Group USA. ISBN 978-1455523665. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  13. ^ McNally, Owen (March 29, 2012). "Jazz In Connecticut: Larry Ochs, Too Human, Conga Bop". courant.com. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  14. ^ "Recordings". Yellowjackets Online. March 24, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  15. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (February 13, 2012). "Yellowjackets Founding Member Jimmy Haslip to Take Year-Long Hiatus". jazztimes.com. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  16. ^ Diroll, Patt (August 19, 2001). "All That Jazz for a Neighbor in Need". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  17. ^ "Jarreau, Yellowjackets Play Benefit in L.A." jazztimes.com. October 23, 2004. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  18. ^ "Jimmy Haslip Biography". yellowjackets.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2013.