Just over a year ago, vibraphonist Joel Ross premiered his evening-length project, Being a Young Black Man, at The Jazz Gallery as part of 2017 Residency Commission Series. The work is a series of compositions responding to different events in Ross’s world, organized around themes of family, faith, and the harsh realities of day-to-day life. In an interview with Jazz Speaks, Ross spoke about the socio-political practices of his and his peers’ art:
Since I moved to New York about three years ago, I noticed that all of my peers are very cognizant and very vocal about what’s going on, both with music and outside of it. On social media, I feel we’re all really vocal about what’s going on. I think that’s a great thing.
Jazz has always been a political music, it’s always been a protest music. It’s not surprising to me then that so many jazz musicians are so vocal right now. I feel with people my age, in particular, we’re in an age of information, 24/7. You can always know what’s going on. Because of that, at some point, you can’t just stay silent. And we have a platform for it.
This weekend, Ross will return to the Gallery to revisit this project with a deepening perspective, both personal and musical. Ross will be joined by some original collaborators—including Immanuel Wilkins and Harish Raghavan—as well as new players with their perspectives on the material. To refresh your memory of Ross’s project, check out “Dad’s Song,” below; then come to the Gallery this weekend to hear the rest.
The Jazz Gallery presents Joel Ross’s Being a Young Black Man, Revisited on Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, 2018. The group features Mr. Ross on vibraphone, Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Fabian Almazan on piano, Harish Raghavan on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums, and Jasmine Wilson on spoken word. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M. each night. $25 general admission ($10 for members), $35 reserved cabaret seating ($20 for members) for each set. Purchase tickets here.