Yerkes is the son of a country swing singer and guitarist and a teacher and classical flautist. He has performed since childhood, beginning with a jazz small group he played in with his father as a youngster. He later attended the University of North Texas, earning a BM and MM in the renowned jazz studies program, and playing with and touring with the One O'Clock Lab Band. While studying at North Texas, he earned a reputation as an outstanding soloist and was the recipient of Downbeat magazine student awards. During his time at UNT Yerkes played with Dave Brubeck, James Carter, Bobby Millitello, Adonis Rose, Brad Leali, Steve Wiest, and The Dallas Jazz Orchestra.

In 2009 he and his brothers in the One O'Clock Lab Band were nominated for a Grammy award in the Large Jazz Ensemble category.

Since his arrival in New York City he has become a staple of jazz fused with a groove, playing in funk, rock and R&B influenced groups while maintaining his straight-ahead projects. He is a member (as a soloist and playing split lead) of the self proclaimed 'space funk big band' the MK Groove Orchestra based out of Brooklyn, NY. He also plays in the 21-piece hip hop and club influenced Club Casa Chamber Orchestra, also based out of Brooklyn and lead by Sly5thAve. He and his Brooklyn circle lead one of the hottest jazz/funk jam sessions in town, The Jelly.

Yerkes leads his own NYC based quintet with residencies at the Player's Club and Sleep No More in Manhattan. The group focuses on jazz melded with funk, R&B, and rock.

He has and continues to work and tour with a wide array of musicians, including Charles Bradley, Lukas Graham, Rob Lewis, Nick Lachey, Om'Mas Keith, Tangerine Dream, Sasha Allen, Jen Dale, DJ Center, Jesse Fischer, Vein Melter, Charles Perry, Quadron, Ilse Gevaert, Michael Kammers, Juliette Jones, La Madrugada, Denitia Odigie, Kris Berry, Nona, Strawberry Jam, Melissa McMillan, Sylvester Onyejiaka, IGBO, Anbessa Orchestra, Rag N Bone Man, and Quantic.

He is active as a studio musician for both radio and television.

Yerkes lives in Brooklyn, New York.