Joel Ross has revealed his mesmerizing new music video for “Yana” (directed by Daveion Thompson) from the vibraphonist’s acclaimed debut album KingMaker, out now on Blue Note Records. Blue Note has also announced a 2-LP vinyl release for KingMaker, which will come out on August 9 and is available for pre-order now here.
See what the critics are saying about KingMaker:
“The 23-year-old vibraphonist shines on his debut album, with an approach that feels sly and mysterious… KingMaker is a marvel… one of the most promising albums to have emerged from the jazz world this year, but it’s clear that Ross is just getting started.”—Pitchfork
“The vibraphonist Joel Ross is already widely known as contemporary jazz’s top prospect. Kingmaker, his major-label debut, out now on Blue Note, shows that he has what it takes to build something vital”—NY Times
“Ask any clubgoing New Yorker to name the most exciting young jazz musician on the scene, and chances are good that he or she will mention Joel Ross. A smart, self-possessed vibraphonist who practically sends high voltage through his mallets… KingMaker [is] a vibrant statement of intent.”—WBGO
“The balance of handsome melody and harmony with fractured rhythm on KingMaker augurs exciting things from 23-year-old vibraphonist Joel Ross… he’s got a terrific concept in the offing… Not since Stefon Harris’ arrival 20 years ago has the jazz world heard a young vibraphonist intent of exploring so many dimensions.”—JazzTimes
“emotionally satisfying, intricately rhythmed, precisely executed… Ross’ playing erupts through the layers of lush arrangements like consistent currents of electricity, high-powered and full of luminous energy.”—DownBeat
“The music on KingMaker is sophisticated, emotional, confident and brimming with youthful energy.”—JAZZIZ
“Joel Ross is a young jazz star on the vibes with a working band in his Blue Note debut—working a vein that is modern but tied certainly back to a tradition that includes his inspiration, Bobby Hutcherson. Cracking good.”—PopMatters
If 2018 was the year Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based vibraphonist Joel Ross kept turning up on acclaimed album after acclaimed album (Makaya McCraven Universal Beings, Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens In Common, James Francies Flight, Marquis Hill Modern Flows, Vol. 2), then 2019 is his year to be the star as he joins the Blue Note Records roster and releases his debut album. With the arrival of KingMaker, he adds his name to an illustrious jazz vibraphone legacy on the legendary label that extends from Milt Jackson to Bobby Hutcherson to Stefon Harris and now Ross.
For his first release, Ross brought in bassist Harish Raghavan as producer and convened his Good Vibes band—Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Benjamin Tiberio on bass, and Jeremy Dutton on drums, plus guest vocalist Gretchen Parlato—for a lithe and melodic trip through a wild array of inspirations: the uncanny interplay of Miles and Wayne, the cooling touch of Bags, the harmonic acuity of Harris, the rhythmic heat of Steve Coleman, and the genius album-building of Ambrose Akinmusire. And at the heart of it all is the wisdom passed down personally to Ross from Hutcherson: “Write music about your life and write every day.”
“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.” 11 of the KingMaker’s 12 tracks were composed by Ross, and from the cover photo to the music within, the album finds him exploring the formative stuff that made him the man he is, first and foremost, family. The centerpiece title track is dedicated to his mother, while other compositions pay homage to Ross’ twin brother, father, and niece.
Ross premieres his new work “Revelation” this week at Roulette in Brooklyn (May 22) and will be appearing at the Atlanta Jazz Festival (May 25) and Blues Alley in Washington DC (May 28) leading up to his album release shows at Jazz Standard in New York City on June 4-5. Ross will also be on tour in Europe this Summer and makes his debut appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival on August 3.
JOEL ROSS – 2019 TOUR DATES:
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
June 6 – Scullers Jazz – Boston, MA
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
Watch the official video for “Yana”;