In 2009, Jamison Ross participated in the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program, an educational residency for promising young jazz artists. Among the notable artists serving as auditioners/panelists was vocalist Carmen Lundy, who approached the nineteen-year-old drummer. But rather than offering educational guidance, Lundy extended her hand and asked, “Do you have a card?”
Jamison Ross was named the winner of the Rising Star - Male Vocalist category in the 2018 Downbeat Magazine Critics' Poll. The August issue of DownBeat has features on numerous winning artists as well the complete results for each category, listing more than 1,200 artists who received votes in the Critics Poll.
Jamison Ross, 30, is the bright young star of American jazz right now. A drummer and vocalist, Ross won the Thelonious Monk Jr international jazz competition award early on and his 2015 album Concord Jazz was nominated for a Grammy. Satish Padmanabhanmet him in New Delhi where he was the marquee performer at the Jazz India Circuit organized by Teamwork Art. Excerpts from the interview:
He's casting a spell on the world with his effortless fusion of the two cardinal constituents of music - rhythm and harmony. His compositions have the precision of a metronome and have enough room for imaginative improvisation. So when American drummer-vocalist and Grammy nominee Jamison Ross played at One Golden Mile at the culmination of Jazz India Circuit's 2017-18, he introduced many in the Capital to his unusual combinations of instrument and style. His powerful vocals are a result of growing up in a family deeply rooted in music. With a singer-pianist for a father and his grandfather and uncle being musically inclined, Ross started singing when he was three-years-old, heavily influenced by the gospel he heard all around.
Grammy-nominated drummer/singer Jamison Ross is proving that he’s not a one-hit-wonder with the release of his latest recording for Concord Jazz. Titled All For One, the winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Drum Competition, Ross is solidifying his reputation as one of his generation's brightest young drummer/vocalists. Accompanied by pianist Chris Pattishall, guitarist Rick Lollar (both of whom played on the 2015 debut), bassist Barry Stephenson, and Cory Irvin on Hammond organ and Fender Rhodes.
Jamison Ross won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for the drums in 2012 by playing a reliable hand: He eschewed pyrotechnic displays in favor of a buoyant, catalytic pulse, gently interweaving some New Orleans funk into his standard jazz swing. He was framing himself less as an innovator and more as the guardian of some new, hybridized tradition. Since then Mr. Ross, 29, has recorded two albums, both a mix of originals and covers with heavy debts to the jazz and R&B of the Crescent City, his adopted hometown. On the title track from the second album, he covers a little-known New Orleans R&B gem, superimposing the whirlpool syncopation of an Elvin Jones beat onto what was once a perky doo-wop tune. His vocals verge into a deep croon, betraying influences from all over the map: the jazz singer Gregory Porter, the gospel star Marvin Sapp, and a singing drummer from an earlier era, Grady Tate. G.R.
Although part of winning the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition — which focused on drummers that year — was a recording contract with Concord Music Group, the label wasn't entirely receptive to Jamison Ross' plans. He wanted to sing on most of the tracks.
"They made me do a demo," Ross says from his home in New Orleans, still a little incredulous.
Expectations—rarely trust-worthy inclinations—were that as the winner of the prestigious 2012 Thelonious Monk Institute’s Drums Competition, Jamison Ross would make his mark in jazz behind a drum set. Well, in many ways he has and he does. However, his vocals stole the show on his self-titled debut on Concord Jazz. The label, which he was signed to as one of the perks for the Monk award, gave him the go-ahead to sing. Smart move.
Since the start of his career in music, Jamison Ross has garnered highly coveted accolades that attest to his abilities as a drummer and vocalist and, ultimately, a jazz musician. He was the winner of the 2012 Thelonius Monk Jr. International Jazz competition and has received a Grammy nomination for his self-titled album released in 2015.
The Exciting Second Chapter In His Spectacular Artistic Evolution As A Singer, Drummer, Composer And Bandleader
For Immediate Release – Whereas Jamison Ross’ GRAMMY®-nominated, vocal-heavy 2015 debut disc, Jamison shocked some listeners who knew him primarily as a drummer, especially after he won the 2012 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Drum Competition, his sophomore disc, All For One, scheduled for release on January 26, 2018 via Concord Jazz, will surely solidify his reputation as one his generation’s brightest vocalists and drummers.