I’m on the mailing list for Harlem Stage, and just got an announcement about the return of their monthly music series called “Uptown Nights.” The series will kick off September 16th-17th with vibraphonist-composer Joel Ross and his project, Being A Young Black Man. This compilation of arrangements is a sonic response to various experiences in Ross’ life, and focuses on identity, family, religion, and the daily struggles of growing up as a Black man in America.
Ross grew up on the South Side of Chicago and became interested in music at a very young age. His father, a police officer and a choir director, encouraged his pursuits and has been a major influence in his musical career and in his life. He went on to study with musician Stefon Harris and is now an Edison Award winner, educator, and composer who has created a unique personal sound.
Despite being a jazz fan, I have to admit that I haven’t heard many vibraphonists as the lead performer, so I wanted to get a preview of Joel Ross’ music. I found this music video for his song “Yana,” which is also billed as “a film by Daveion Thompson.” It’s an interesting and mysterious video, in the sense of trying to determine the story line. At any rate, it’s a nice introduction to Ross’ music, and I hope you enjoy it too.
For more information or to get tickets for the Harlem Stage event, check out their website here.