Jorge Rossy Vibes Trio

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Last Show: Monday 27 th March 2023

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

ECM recording artist and multi-instrumentalist Jorge Rossy returns for a special show highlighting both the vibraphone and marimba with a set of compositions where the role of the instruments and the rendering of the tunes are completely fresh and distinct. Jorge is accompanied by Jeff Ballard on drums and Robert Landfermann on bass.

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"What makes it work is the intimate three-way dialogue and the enigmatic soundworld it creates. The trio are spot on whether playing in a more latin or swing vein but also faintly reminiscent at times of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s more chamber classical-oriented moments […] ‘Puerta’ has an after-hours feel perfect for late night listening, but there’s a real depth to it as well."

Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise

Puerta, Jorge Rossy’s first ECM recording as a bandleader, is also his first release of a trio recording in which he plays vibes and marimba. When he began to perform as a vibes player 7 years ago, Jorge focused on playing in larger ensembles and arranged his compositions in ways that did not necessarily feature the vibes as the central instrument. In this recording, he puts the vibes and the marimba front and center and in this sense, too, the CD represents his evolution as a vibes player. The compositions are not new but the role of the vibes and marimba and the overall rendering of the tunes are completely fresh and distinct. Jorge is accompanied by Jeff Ballard on drums and Robert Landfermann on bass. With such strong players and in a trio setting, the compositions allow for an intimacy and a space that give all three musicians an equal musical presence. The transparency of the sound enhances this sense that each musician takes an equal role in shaping the character and mood of the tunes. It also reveals a deep aesthetic affinity between the three musicians.

Jorge and Jeff Ballard have known each other for years. They developed their musical voices largely in the same community of musicians around the New York jazz scene of the early ‘90s, and they have continued to play with many of the same people over the past three decades. Their deep complicity in style and language comes as no surprise. Jeff’s polyphonic approach to the drums provides a dense and very rich texture to the tunes. It is rooted in a deep understanding of different folk drumming traditions.

Robert Landfermann is from a younger generation of Europe-based jazz musicians. Jorge first played with him just a couple of years ago when he was invited to play vibes as a guest with Pablo Held’s trio, of which Robert is a core member. Robert has a deep understanding of the music of Jorge’s generation but he also brings different points of view and sounds to the table. His imagination and array of sounds on the bass expands the sonic, conceptual and expressive scope of the band. He alternates between an austere approach that anchors the foundation of each tune and an incredibly skilled and imaginative voice that weaves its way through each composition.

Each musician finds something very different and unique to contribute to each tune, creating out of each one a very different musical landscape. Most of the tunes crystallised within the recording context within just one or two takes. Both Robert and Jeff had played in Jorge’s Vibes Quintet so they were familiar with some of the tunes already. However, this was the first time that they had all played together in trio so the demands on them as musicians were completely different.

Jorge’s approach to the recording was to focus on storytelling in order to convey the meaning and essence of each composition while exploring the new sonic territory of this trio setting with Jeff and Robert. He created a context within which Robert and Jeff were able to contribute their own vision of each tune and their own sound. In this musical context, the role of each musician in creating the whole is completely clear and reveals aspects of each of their playing in a completely new light.

Band Line Up

Jorge Rossy (vibes, marimba)

Robert Landfermann (double bass)

Jeff Ballard (drums)