Joel Ross And His Good Vibes
There comes a moment in almost any performance by vibraphonist Joel Ross when he seems to slip free of standard cognitive functions and into a bodacious flow state. Invariably, he's in the midst of a heated improvisation. Maybe he's bouncing on his heels, or bobbing like a marionette. His mallets form a blur, in contrast to the clarity of the notes they produce. The deft precision of his hammering inspires a visual comparison to some tournament-level version of Whac-A-Mole. https://music.yandex.ru/album/7524923/track/51422266
Ross, 23, has become the breakout jazz star of the moment partly on the basis of this volatile spark and its cathartic release. Last December, at a high-profile New York show by drummer Makaya McCraven, on whose album Universal Beings he appears, Ross took one solo that provoked the sort of raucous hollers you'd sooner expect in a basketball arena. Again, this was a vibraphone solo. https://ringtonesnoise.com/
I first heard Ross at the start of 2016, months after he arrived in New York as a music student, and he made a strong impression even then. He was appearing during Winter Jazzfest with pianist James Francies, who had just been signed to Blue Note Records. I publicly stated my intention to keep them both on my radar.
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