Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Swing Ukulele By Gerald Ross Revisited

Gerald Ross (photo by Peggy Brisbane, 2015)
Gerald Ross is a multi-instrumentalist mastering various string instruments like guitar, lap steel guitar, bass, mandolin - and ukulele. With a musical background as selftaught he has had a career playing professionally since 1970. In later years, he has successfully focused on the ukulele as a solo voice applying excellent fingerstyle technique in his playing the small instrument and by adding a repertoire of popular music, jazz and swing in his own well elaborated arrangements. Mr. Ross has released six self produced CDs on his own Uke Tone label devoted to the ukulele (- more info, here).  I was thrilled to find and explore his appropriately titled Swing Ukulele CD some years ago and I wrote a small review, here. Just recently I found Gerald Ross' latest release on Spotify and like to point you to this CD here
Gerald Ross, Absolute Uke (UT-2306, 2015)
The CD has fourteen tracks and the repertoire is a mixed bag of Swing, Jazz, Pop, a.o. including Gerald Ross' arrangements of Ellington & Strayhorn's Take The 'A' Train, Gershwin's Sweet And Lowdown and the Swing-Era standard Rose Room. Further there are Latin pieces like You Belong To My Heart/Solamente Una Vez and Wave by Jobim, and you also have great arrangements and performance of popular tunes like Under Paris Skies, September Song, Sugar, All Of Me a.o.. About the repertoire Gerald Ross writes in the sleeve notes, quote: "It's all music to me. Whether it's labeled Swing, Jazz, Pop, Latin, or Folk ... the styles all feature a memorable melody and a strong rhythmic pulse that have filled the airwaves and dance floors for years. Yes, there are distinct differences between them which are well-documented by music historians and theorists. But to me, their similarities far outweigh their differences." - This attitude to the chosen tunes at the disc makes it a homogeneous product of a creative mind and a very skilled musician, who knows his sources and how to present the music in an appealing form which meets the listener immediately. I highly recommend the CD to anyone with an open ear for great music performance and enjoable tunes evoking good vibrations and bright memories of a time when a musical theme was immediately recognizable and easily digestible. The CD is available for purchase at Gerald Ross' website, here. - Below some examples of music featured at the CD from uploaded videos at YouTube. Here is first Gerald Ross' version of Take The 'A' Train 

Next, a great version of You Belong To My Heart/Solamente Una Vez 

Finally to end this small review, here's Gerald Ross' rendition of All Of Me 

More videos featuring Gerald Ross at his You Tube Channel, here

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