Jazztopad Festival
Joel Ross: Good Vibes
7:00 PM
NFM, Red Hall
Download programme

Joel Ross – vibraphone
Immanuel Wilkins – saxophone
Kanca Mendenhall – double bass
Jeremy Dutton – drums


NFM, Red Hall
plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław
from 45 to 80 zł

Joel Ross, one of the most interesting representatives of the young generation that is changing the face of contemporary jazz, will visit Jazztopad Festival with his band Good Vibes. In recent years, his career has flared up thanks to two original albums in the catalogue of the prestigious Blue Note label, and the sound of his vibraphone can be heard on albums of such artists as Makaya McCraven, James Francies or Melissa Aldana. There are signs on earth and in heaven that the twenty-six-year-old musician is on his way to becoming the leading jazz vibraphonist in the coming years.

During his childhood, Ross's favorite instrument was percussion. Together with her twin brother Josh, they tapped the beat on literally everything from an early age, eventually forcing their parents to buy a real instrument. Joel learned the secrets of playing efficiently, but not as quickly as his brother, so it was Josh who sat down at the drum kit in the school band. A seemingly trivial event had far-reaching consequences, because thanks to them Joel became interested in the vibraphone – a percussion instrument that allowed him to express himself also in the harmonic layer. Ross began his proper education in jazz in 2009 at the Chicago High School for the Arts. However, under the wings of the true master of vibraphone, Stefan Harris, he did not come to study at the University of the Pacific. Unlike most modern vibraphonists, Ross plays with two, not four, mallets. In this way, he refers to the tradition of Milt Jackson and, without giving up refined harmony, focuses on clarity.

In 2015, the musician moved to New York to begin his MA at The New School. A parallel path of education (the informal one) took place in jazz clubs. As Giovani Russonello wrote in The New York Times: “If you spent time in the city quite often, in one of the clubs you had to find the vibraphonist Joel Ross playing in yet another of the bands”. His improvisations and unique style of accompaniment have made him one of the most sought-after jazzmen of the young generation. No wonder that the Chicago-based artist has been noticed by prestigious labels. In 2019 with the album KingMaker, Ross joined the Blue Note catalogue, and last year he released another album entitled Who Are You? The latter was very well received. Ross, leading Good Vibes, tries not to be an autocratic leader: “He’s not giving my team too much guidance. Bring music, be absolutely honest and reach higher in your musical search”. How high will the New York quartet reach in Wrocław?

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