Joel Ross Shares Vibrant New Single ‘Bach’ From New Album ‘Nublues’

Moving seamlessly across jazz and blues-imbued terrain, Ross’ new record is out on Blue Note on February 9.

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Joel Ross - Photo: Bruce Bennett/Blue Note Records

Vibraphonist and composer Joel Ross has shared his new single “Bach (God The Father In Eternity)”, a remarkable piece that injects the sound of the church and the rhythm of Black American music into a melodic fragment by J.S. Bach. You can check “Bach…” out below.

The track also features on Ross’ fourth Blue Note album, nublues: a collection of ballads and blues as seen through the lens of one of the most creative modern jazz groups of our time featuring Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Kano Mendenhall on bass, and Jeremy Dutton on drums, as well as special guest Gabrielle Garo on flute.

bach (God the Father in Eternity)

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Throughout the record, the band moves seamlessly across the blues-imbued musical terrain of this 10-track set which includes 7 new Ross originals as well as pieces by John Coltrane (“equinox” and “central park west”) and Thelonious Monk (“evidence”).

The genesis of nublues dates back to 2020 when, during the COVID pandemic as live performances were shut down, Ross went back to the New School to finish his degree. One of his classes was taught by the alto saxophonist Darius Jones, who nudged students to dig into the history of the blues. That led Ross down a rabbit hole of what the blues can be – it isn’t just a 12-bar form.

He realized it was a feeling. “Sort of a spirit or an energy,” Ross says. “It’s emotion, it’s expression. But I also want to stay true to the rhythmic ideations that we’ve already been developing. I don’t really tell the band how to play anything. What I do tell them is to stay connected and make everything we do related to each other. And play the blues, however that comes off.”

When asked what he wants to convey with this LP, Ross hesitates. “I don’t want my personal experience to be what people are thinking about when they’re experiencing it,” he says. “I generally want people to be able to come in and hear the music and interpret it through their own lens.”

He adds “I enjoyed the journey of diving into learning about the blues and understanding the history of the blues, really focusing on developing this band’s sound and band structure. For me, it was just about the journey that came from getting into all of the information and figuring out what it was going to be. It’s a constant continuing. It’s a snapshot into how we’ve continued to do the same thing we’ve been doing and how it’s been shifting.”

Pre-order nublues.

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