In 2012, a 24-year old Jamison Ross (MM Music 13) won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in one of the only years the contest has featured drumming as its instrumental focus. Winning this prestigous competition came with a prize of a $25,000 scholarship and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group. On June 23, 2015, the contract came to fruition with the release of Jamison, Ross' debut on the major jazz label.
And now, the GRAMMY's are taking notice. Jamison was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album in the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards to broadast February 15, 2015. As the award category demonstrates, Ross isn't just a percussionist. He came up through the gospel choir at his grandfather's church in Florida, and sings on ten of the album's twelve tracks. Since moving to New Orleans to pursue a Master's degree in jazz studies, Ross has been embraced by the local jazz community and has toured or recorded with a number of big New Orleans musicians over the last few years including Dr. John, Jon Cleary, Jon Batiste, Irvin Mayfield, and Glen David Andrews. The new album reflects his deep interest in blues and soul while remaining true to the spirit of jazz.
Ross remains a performer first; appreciating music for its interactive and emotive qualities: "I like music for listeners, not musicians," he told NPR in 2012 after winning the Thelonious Monk competition. "I'm about the people."
Jamison can be previewed and purchased on mp3 at iTunes or CD at Amazon.
Sources: WWOZ.org/blog, New Music Spotlight, July 7, 2015
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