Berklee’s Signature Series Celebrates Vibraphone Master, Composer, and Educator Joel Ross

The acclaimed artist will lead the Joel Ross Ensemble in a performance directed by Associate Professor Matthew Stevens.

February 21, 2024

Berklee’s Signature Series will present the Berklee Joel Ross Ensemble, celebrating the acclaimed vibraphone master, composer, and educator on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Red Room at Cafe 939.

Directed by Associate Professor Matthew Stevens, the program will explore Ross’s critically beloved releases KingMaker (2019), Who Are You? (2020), and The Parable of the Poet (2022). For nublues, his remarkable fourth release as a leader for Blue Note, Ross challenged himself to create an album with a greater degree of accessibility: still intricate and adventurous, but with a strong emphasis on melody, ballads, and the blues. The artist regularly tops the DownBeat and Jazz Journalists Association critics polls for his work in the broad lineage of Black music that pulls from jazz, hip-hop, church, and Chicago improvised music.

“It is an honor to have Joel Ross at Berklee to lead a fantastic student ensemble playing his unique and beautiful compositions,” said Stevens. “Our students and faculty are continually inspired by Joel’s artistry, originality, and musicianship, and we're thrilled to have him on campus. We're so grateful to Joel and are looking forward to what I know will be a very special concert.”

Now based in Brooklyn, the Chicago-born Ross performs across the globe, collaborating with Makaya McCraven, Woodwinds Chair Walter Smith III, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Wynton Marsalis, Rajna Swaminathan, Marcus Gilmore, Brandee Younger, and Berklee Assistant Professor Marquis Hill, among others. As a bandleader, he has performed at the Village Vanguard and Dizzy’s Club in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Newport Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. His recent tour included dates at Triennale di Milano in Italy, Ronnie Scott’s in London, Le Duc des Lombards in Paris, and Halle 424 in Germany.

The Berklee Joel Ross Ensemble will take place on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Red Room at Cafe 939, located at 939 Boylston Street, Boston. Admission is $15 in advance and $18 day of show. Tickets are available online and at the Berklee box office.

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