For those paying close attention, Chicago-born and Brooklyn-based vibraphonist Joel Ross has slowly been making a name for himself as one of the freshest and most exciting newcomers on the scene with appearances on Makaya McCraven’s Universal Beings, Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens’ In Common, James Francies’ Flight and Marquis Hill’s Modern Flows, Vol. 2. So it will come as no surprise to some that the young phenom has caught the attention of reknown jazz label Blue Note Records, which is set to release his debut KingMaker on May 3rd.
For this project, a stellar albeit youthful cast has been assembled with bassist Harish Raghavan as producer and featuring Ross’ Good Vibes band, namely Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Benjamin Tiberio on bass, and Jeremy Dutton on drums, plus guest vocalist Gretchen Parlato.
Inspired by advice received from legendary vibraphonist and now labelmate Bobby Hutcherson who told Ross to “Write music about your life and write every day,” Ross composed eleven of the twelve tracks on KingMaker. “I took Bobby’s words literally,” says Ross, who visited the master in his home while studying in California. “Every song is influenced by people or events, relationships I had, or even a question someone posed.”
Stream “Ill Relations”, the first single from the record, a mature and inspired dialogue between Ross and Wilkins, below and also find Ross’ upcoming tour dates including his NYC release shows at the Jazz Standard on June 4 and 5, plus shows in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and London, and festival appearances at Newport, Atlanta, North Sea and Umbria.
JOEL ROSS – 2019 TOUR DATES:
April 3 – Blue Whale – Los Angeles, CA
April 4 – Blue Whale – Los Angeles, CA
May 22 – Roulette – Brooklyn, NY
May 25 – Atlanta Jazz Festival – Atlanta, GA
May 28 – Blues Alley – Washington DC
June 4 – Jazz Standard – New York, NY
June 5 – Jazz Standard – New York, NY
July 10 – Pizza Express – London, UK
July 11 – Pizza Express – London, UK
July 14 – North Sea Jazz Festival – Rotterdam, Netherlands
July 17 – Umbria Jazz Festival – Umbria, Italy
July 19 – Plaza de Europa – Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
July 20 – Plaza de Santa Ana – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
August 3 – Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, RI
KingMaker, the debut album by vibraphonist Joel Ross, comes to Blue Note Records on May 3rd.
Sébastien Hélary co-founded Nextbop in 2009 with the objective of introducing modern jazz music to a younger generation of fans. Aside from music, his other main obsession is food, particularly ramen and other Japanese delicacies.