When deciding on which emerging artists to feature in the Jazz Center’s season, we put out a call to a group of young jazz lovers: “who would you like to hear?” The most requested name was easily vibraphonist Joel Ross, who had appeared at the VJC before as a sideman with Marquis Hill in February 2018. With the impetus of the release of his debut album on Blue Note Records, KingMaker, we are happy to present Ross at the VJC with his own ensemble. As Jazz Times noted about him: “Not since Stefon Harris’ arrival 20 years ago has the jazz world heard a young vibraphonist intent on exploring so many dimensions. KingMaker shows us a player deeply versed in the jazz vibes tradition who’s also internalized the atmospherics of ECM and EDM as surely as he has the grooves of hip-hop and M-Base. On his first recording, Ross oozes potential.”
Ross was a precocious musician growing up in Chicago, playing at church and attending programs at the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Launching quickly through the Brubeck Institute, the New School and the bands of highly esteemed young colleagues like Makaya McCraven and James Francies, Ross he is now living his dream. In the promo for Blue Note Records, Ross states “I never had a doubt that I was going to do music… My whole life it was just about finding a way to do it.” Ross is now a force to be reckoned with!