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Modern jazz percussionists return for Seattle concerts

Joel Ross performs at New York's Jazz Gallery in 2018
Jonathan Chimene
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WBGO
Joel Ross performs at New York's Jazz Gallery in 2018. The vibraphonist brings his band to the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle's Central District on June 30.

Rhythm is a critical element in jazz. Three of the finest modern rhythm makers perform for Seattle audiences this week and next. Here's a preview.

Amendola vs. Blades

Wil Blades and Scott Amendola are Amendola Vs Blades
Lenny Gonzalez
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Amendola vs. Blades
Amendola vs. Blades adds saxophonist Skerik and percussionist Cyro Baptista at the Triple Door on June 24.

Drummer Scott Amendola returns to Seattle with his longtime collaborator, keyboard player Wil Blades in their Amendola vs. Blades project. Their performance Friday, June 24, at the Triple Door will feature Seattle saxophonist Skerik and Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista.

At a recent show at the Triple Door with the same group, plus guitarist Jeff Parker, Amendola vs. Blades played around the rough edges of in-the-pocket grooves. Their music offers hooks to sing along with and stretches to the limits of their instruments and imaginations.

Cyro Baptista

Joining Amendola vs. Blades for this leg of their tour, Baptista is an innovative musician who utilizes a unique collection of percussive tools. Grammy-winning artists Herbie Hancock, Yo Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Caetano Veloso, and Paul Simon have sought out his colorful rhythmic style. Traditional drums and tambourines meet pans and washboards, even hoses from vacuum cleaners and refrigerators, to create an irreverent reminder that the drum is in everything.

Joel Ross

Over three albums in the past four years, Joel Ross developed a reputation as the most exciting young vibraphonist in the country. The Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based Ross first drew attention working in the bands of Makaya McCraven and Marquis Hill. The latter introduced Ross to a Seattle audience a few years ago as "the young genius."

A protégé of modern vibraphone icon Stefon Harris, Ross developed his playing and composing while forming a deep commitment to musical communication and communion.

With his new album "The Parable of the Poet," Ross presents an expansive seven-part suite of spiritual jazz discovery. The band's collaborative improvisation is lush and mostly relaxed, featuring Ross' former boss Hill on trumpet and Immanuel Wilkins on saxophone in a four-part horn section with a piano trio.

Joel Ross will be at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute June 30. The band includes top young saxophonist Godwin Louis, with Kanoa Mendenhall on bass and Jeremy Dutton drumming. A previous Seattle performance was sparsely attended. Here's another chance to show your appreciation for a young jazz artist with all the promise of a future legend.

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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