Jerry Yester

  1. At the age of 17, Jerry Yester began working the folk clubs of L.A. with his brother Jim, as the Yester Brothers.

After Jim joined the army, Jerry joined Karol Dugan and John Forsha, as the Inn Group. They went on to record with The New Christy Minstrels, whose first recording effort spent nearly two years on the charts, and won a Grammy. After the Inn Group, came albums with: Les Baxter's Balladeers, and the Easy Riders. In ’63, he joined the Modern Folk Quartet. The MFQ received wide acceptance from the beginning, and before long had recorded two albums, and toured colleges and Civic Centers, for more than 200 days a year on the road.
Later, in the wake of the British Invasion, the MFQ added "Fast Eddie" Hoh from Chicago, and became a Folk Rock Quintet, signing first with Phil Spector’s Philles label, then with Dunhill Records. The group stopped working in ’66, but would return several times in subsequent years,  recording and performing.

He then turned his eye (and ears)  to producing. Starting with the Association's second album Renaissance, followed by Tim Buckley's second album, Goodbye and Hello.

In ’67, Jerry got a call from John Sebastian, asking if he would be interested in joining    the Lovin’ Spoonful, replacing Zal Yanovsky, who wanted to go solo. He had played piano on their first single Do you believe in Magic, and helped the group with vocal arrangements on their first album, so It felt very natural. He accepted the offer, and worked with the group for ’67 and ’68. During that time they played hundreds of live gigs, including a legendary Ed Sullivan Show appearance. He performed on, Orchestrated, and co-produced the group’s last album Everything Playing, and produced and Orchestrated Zal’s solo album,  Alive and well in Argentina.

Back in L.A., Jerry and his then wife, and first song writing partner Judy Henske, began work on their first album Farewell Aldebaran. Jerry called Zal and they formed Hairshirt Productions, and Aldebaran was Hairshirt’s first effort. They went on to produce Pat Boone’s Departure, Tim Buckley’s  Happy Sad, and the Fifth Avenue Band’s self titled first album.
After Hairshirt, Jerry produced Penrod, and the Turtles last album Shell Shock. He and Judy then formed the group Rosebud, recorded an album, and……divorced.

Shortly after, Jerry got a call from Jac Holzman at Elektra Records to listen to a New York group called Aztec II Step. He went to New York, and ran into a girl he'd known years before. It was a very good meeting, He and Marlene are still together.

He went on to produce Aztec II Step's self titled first album (as well as their wonderful, "unheard" second album); Billy Mernit; and Tom Wait’s 1972 debut, Closing Time. He also did an adaptation of Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Rob Reiner. Since then, he’s performed with the Association, and the reunited MFQ and done arrangements and/or Orchestrations for Waits, Danny O'Keefe, the Manhattan Transfer, Merrilee Rush, Jay Lewis, Jonathan Cain, Brenda Russell, Spanky and Our Gang, Tom Freund and Marvin Etzioni among many others.

Jerry started engineering in '73, and his first project was the European underground classic, Spike Janson's Windowpanes.

The Yester family moved to Hawaii in 1984, followed soon by Brother Jim and his family. With Jim on board, the MFQ cut a series of albums in Hawaii, and toured widely. Then, Jim and Jerry joined with Rainbow Page to form the Rainbow Connection, which became Hilo Hawaii's most working dance band in the mid to late 80's. Jim rejoined the Association in the 90's, and they are still performing. The MFQ, once again a quartet, still crop up every half decade or so, and are, S L O W L Y,  working on  a(n) Hawaiian album. The Lovin' Spoonful reunited in 1992, and perform a comfortably full concert schedule.

A sought-after producer, Jerry now lives in Harrison, Arkansas. He records local and visiting artists in his studio Willow Sound, including among others: The No Neck Blues Band, Dennis Lee, Gavin Coyle , Eric Bibb, and Dennis Kain. He is currently touring with the re-united Lovin' Spoonful, and has just finished recording a CD with a new group: Yester, a folk-rock band that includes his brother Jim, and daughters Lena and Hannah.

  Most of his performing these days is solo, in clubs and concerts here and abroad. singing with piano, guitar and his wooden Ozark Mountain Banjo. When he's not on the road, he can be found in Eureka Springs Arkansas, in the Grand Central Hotel's Grand Tavern; the amazing Stone House;  and in Harrison, Arkansas, at the wonderful 1929 Hotel Seville's John Paul Lounge.

In August of 2016, Omnivore Records re-released Farewell Aldebaran in High Quality Vinyl, CD and digital download. Judy Henske and Jerry sang together for the first time since 1971, at the release party August 11th at the Grammy Museum, followed by a performance by both:  solo, and together at McCabes in Santa Monica CA.  A great time was had by all.