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?”
“I’d just rushed out to Kinko’s the day before,” Ross laughs. “I gave her that card with so much joy. She called me two weeks later for my first European tour—my first time on the road with an artist. I didn’t even have a passport yet.”
From that turning point, Jamison’s swinging and frequently funky drumming earned acclaim with a succession of name jazz artists. And then he upped the ante, launching the “secret” weapon waiting in his arsenal: his exceptional, soulful voice.
That talent came as a surprise windfall to his current label, Concord Jazz. Ross was awarded that record contract upon winning the famed Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Drums Competition in 2012. Concord initially thought they’d signed a gifted drummer—which they most assuredly did. But the musician’s 2015 debut disc, Jamison, featuring his dynamic dual talents—as well as compositional strengths—also earned the drummer a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Now, with the escalating success of this year’s follow-up release, All for One, Ross’s close-knit piano/organ/guitar/acoustic bass/drums quintet has embarked on a year-long itinerary that will span the U.S., Canada, India, Japan, and Europe.