Jamison (Concord Jazz)

Jamison Ross

Released June 23, 2015

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album 2016






Winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums competition, Jamison Rossreleased his self-titled debut album, Jamison, via Concord Jazz, June 23, 2015.  The recording is a brilliant presentation of Ross’ artistry, not only showcasing his prowess as a jazz musician who commands the drums, but also as a gifted composer, arranger and more pointedly, a singer.  Ross sings on ten of the disc’s 12 tracks.  “When I won the Monk competition, no one there knew that I could sing,” says 27-year-old Ross.  “When I took on the quest to record my first record, I was torn between my heart as a drummer and my heart as a singer.  Ultimately, I was compelled to take a journey that incorporated my voice as part of my sound.”

On December 7, 2015, Jamison was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the category of Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Infused with jazz, blues and genuine soul, the album filters music from multiple eras through a contemporary approach, refreshing material such as Muddy Waters’ 1977 classic, “Deep Down in Florida,” an homage to Grady Tate with Gary McFarland, Louis Savary’s soul-jazz classic, “Sack Full of Dreams,” and Eddie Harris and Les McCann’s 1971 hit, “Set Us Free.” He also honors the great Carmen Lundy with an earnest version of her 1994 composition, “These Things You Are to Me.”  Mixed in with these classics are some of Ross’ own compositions including “Emotions,” a lyrical narration of Ross’ personal perspective on the journey of life, supported by a danceable rhythm and convicting melody.

Complementing him on the album is a group of ingenious jazz musicians – guitarist Rick Lollar, bassist Corcoran Holt, saxophonist Dayve Stewart, pianist Chris Pattishall, organist Cory Irvin, and trumpeter Alphonso Horne III – all of whom Ross has cultivated a soulful chemistry with dating back to his college years.  Also on deck is special guest pianist Jonathan Batiste, who plays on four songs.

Jamison embodies a joyous sound grounded in Ross’ distinct approach to music, which is rooted in the church, but interpreted through his profound knowledge of jazz.  “I am often asked whether I am a drummer who sings, or a singer that plays drums,” said Ross.  “This record is an answer to that question; it is an organic and honest expression of who I am as an artist.  It’s Jamison.”

Track Listing:

1. Deep Down in Florida (McKinley Morganfield) 5:25

2. Martha’s Prize [Instrumental] (Cedar Walton) 3:54

3. Emotions (Jamison Ross) 3:52

4. Sack Full of Dreams (Gary McFarland / Louis Savary) 4:14

5. Set Us Free [Instrumental] (Eddie Harris) 5:53

6. Sweet Surrender (The Hook) (Interlude) (Robert Mellin / Guy Wood) 0:40

7. My One and Only Love (Robert Mellin / Guy Wood) 3:23

8. These Things You Are to Me (Carmen Lundy) 4:23

9. Jazz (Aubrielle Ross) (Interlude) (Jamison Ross) 2:02

10. Epiphany (Jamison Ross) 3:39

11. Bye Bye Blues, Pt. 1 (David Bennett / Chauncey Gray / Frederick Hamm / Bert Lown) 2:58

12. Bye Bye Blues, Pt. 2 (David Bennett / Chauncey Gray / Frederick Hamm / Bert Lown) 5:10


Jamison Ross: drums and vocals

Rick Lollar: guitar

Corcoran Holt: bass

Dayve Stewart: saxophone

Chris Pattishall: piano, electric Fender Rhodes 

Alphonso Horne III: trumpet

Jonathan Batiste: piano (1, 7, 11, 12)

Cory Irvin: organ (12)

Recorded at Esplanade Studios

Producer: Jamison Ross and Chris Dunn

Recorded by Misha Kachkachishvili

Mastered by Paul Blakemore

Mixed by Seth Presant

Photography by Devin DeHaven


The debut album by the winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition isn’t what jazz fans will expect. Jamison Ross, it turns out, is a singer as well, and on Jamison he’s a singer first. But once the confusion subsides, there remains lively, eminently listenable music with a kitchen-sink aesthetic.
The bookends are both slide-guitar blues: Rick Lollar’s electric innervates of Muddy Waters’ “Deep Down in Florida” and the two-part original “Bye Bye Blues” (actually more like gospel, complete with Cory Irvin’s organ). In between are original introspections (“Emotions” and the wordless-vocal “Epiphany”); a standard, “My One and Only Love,” given a Seal-ish neo-soul tincture; covers dressed in sweetness (the Grady Tate-associated “Sack Full of Dreams”) and soul (Carmen Lundy’s “These Things You Are to Me”); and two hard-charging, straight-ahead instrumentals.
Lollar, pianist Chris Pattishall (frequently voiced together) and bassist Corcoran Holt provide superb accompaniment throughout, tenor saxophonist Davye Stewart and trumpeter Alphonso Horne III fine obbligati and occasional solos-the former mournful on “Set Us Free,” the latter jaunty and resourceful on “Martha’s Prize.” There are four dazzling appearances by pianist Jonathan Batiste, too. But the real unifying element is Ross’ high tenor voice, whether mustering up power on “Bye Bye Blues” or prizing delicacy on “Emotions,” both of which he does with considerable aplomb.
Unquestionably, Ross’ singing obscures his drumming on Jamison; he underlines this by restraining himself on the traps. His subtlety, though, still proves his percussive worth. “Set Us Free” navigates rhythmic complexities without fanfare; the shuffle of “Deep Down in Florida” has the dexterity
of a card shark. Ross even manages a quiet, unaccompanied solo on the interlude “Jazz (Aubrielle Ross).” It feels like too little for a Monk Competition winner-but perhaps his forbearance is what drew the judges to Ross in the first place.

Michael J. West (JazzTimes)