Joel Ross: Nublues review – vibraphonist’s innovative homage to tradition

(Blue Note)
The American musician shifts away from 12-bar blues to ‘an energy’ in this mix of seven originals and Monk and Coltrane covers

When the pandemic arrived, Joel Ross went back to school – to New York’s famous New School conservatory, where completing his degree included a class on the blues. It proved a resonant decision for the twentysomething vibraphonist, transforming his view of the blues from archaic 12-bar form to what he calls “a sort of spirit, an energy”.

The pandemic also made Ross wonder whether his three previous albums for Blue Note were not too fussy, too concerned with “time and tempo manipulations”, a little daunting for the uncommitted.

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