For the past several years, Ross has been refining an expression that’s true to his sound and his generation. In 2019, the vibraphonist-composer released his anticipated Blue Note debut, KingMaker, to eruptive critical acclaim. He’s topped the DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star category for vibraphone and in 2017, he became one of the youngest artists to receive a
coveted Residency Commission from The Jazz Gallery. With the release of Who Are You? (Blue Note, 2020), Ross shares the culmination of a year-long exercise in experimenting and risk-taking on and off the bandstand.
Playing thoroughly in the broad, resonating tradition of Black music, Ross draws inspiration for his layered expression from vital, intersecting scenes of his native Chicago. Imbibing nuanced traditions from improvised music hubs to the church, he embraced a range of gestural possibilities he’d begin refining in New York. After graduating from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, Ross pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz Studies from The New School in downtown Manhattan.
Inspired by mentor Stefon Harris’ empathetic, whole-self approach to articulation, Ross has adopted an entire ethos dependent on truthful, ongoing communication. Honesty persists throughout his sets, and with each release, he reaffirms a commitment to authentic discourse, particularly among the members of his band Good Vibes: Jeremy Corren, Immanuel Wilkins, Kanoa Mendenhall and Jeremy Dutton.
A steadfast improviser, Ross saturates live sets with a lyrical intuition that’s equally grounded in melody and phrasing. He plays the moment. Rather than impose energies on the music, he allows moods to set, linger and transform.
Now based in Brooklyn, Ross has collaborated with Makaya McCraven, Maria Grand, Kassa Overall, Nicole Mitchell, Gerald Clayton, Melissa Aldana, Walter Smith III, Wynton Marsalis and Marquis Hill, and performed as a leader at Smalls Jazz Club, Umbria Jazz Festival, Winter Jazz Fest, Newport Jazz Festival, Dizzy’s Club, The Blue Whale, North Sea Jazz Festival and The Brubeck Institute.