Joel Ross had a busy 2018: The vibraphonist performed on Makaya McCraven’s acclaimed record Universal Beings, and released an album as part of the In Common quintet. This year, he’ll make his solo debut on Blue Note with KingMaker, which features the lead single, “Ill Relations.”
Ross handily opens the track before drummer Jeremy Dutton and alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins come in for a smooth transition. Towards the song’s conclusion, Ross introduces a change of pace with a new, halting pattern.
Produced by Harish Raghavan—who is also part of In Common—KingMaker was “influenced by people or events, relationships I had, or even a question someone posed,” Ross said in a press release. He composed 11 of the 12 songs on the record.
KingMaker is out May 3. Listen to “Ill Relations” here: