Born: August 1, 1972 Primary Instrument: Piano
Born in 1972, he studied piano and composition in Cologne, London and New York with John Taylor, Joachim Ullrich, Bill Dobbins, Django Bates, Don Friedman and Jim McNeely.
The first of Ross's six albums was released in 1998 under his own name. Ross's recordings look closely at both the multifaceted jazz tradition and his extraordinary handling of contemporary material. In all formations, from trio to quintet, from string orchestra to brass ensemble, Ross succeeds in reconciling two seemingly different musical forms: improvised and composed.
While many of his European colleagues consider it a virtue to distance themselves from the mainstream, another camp makes an effort to continue the American jazz tradition in Europe as authentically as possible. Florian Ross's music is a refreshing break from this often embarrassing programmatic context. Ross not only ignores the demarcation line but translates traditional aspects into a language of the present. His lack of interest in the idea of higher, further, faster corresponds to his fondness for deeper sound regions and warmer timbres, as sounds oscillate between blue, orange and terracotta.
This foundation invites inspiration: the architecture is occasionally daring but never cool. Intellect and feeling do not exclude each other, the head listens to the stomach and vice versa. The music radiates balance, something that is often propagated but seldom achieved. The stark and songful does not trigger disquietude within Ross; on no account edgy actionism. He knows that it's not what you say but how you say it, and that less is (sometimes) more.
It is impossible to simply reduce Florian Ross to a pianist or improviser, or even an arranger and composer, as his work cannot be limited to a single genre or category. He is much too much the pianist to abandon himself solely to the compositional architecture, and much too much the composer to succumb to a mere fascination of the piano. He is a musician who thinks, hears, writes and plays musically.
Ross has played and worked with Vince Mendoza, Bob Brookmeyer, the Bamberg Symphony Big Band, Peter Bolte, Joachim Schönecker, Tommy Smith, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Jeff Cascaro, Jim McNeely, Dave Liebman, Don Friedman, George Duke, John Scofield, Kenny Wheeler, Ron Mclure, Joe Lovano, Eric Vloeimans, Nils Wogram, John Hollenbeck, Bill Dobbins, Paul Heller, Michael Buckley and Ronan Guilfoyle. He has given concerts in Switzerland, Austria, England, Scotland, Croatia, Finland, Russia, Mexico, the USA, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China. Ross also taught at the Academy of Music in Hanover, Weimar and Mainz, and at the University of Music in Leipzig and Dresden. In addition to his CDs he released four of his own compositions in the first European Real Book.
Among many international awards, Ross received first prize in the Danish Radio Big Band International Thad Jones Competition in 2000 and the WDR Jazz Prize in 2006. He has composed and arranged for ensembles including the Metropole Orchestra, Vancouver Jazz Orchestra, Oktoposse, BMI Jazz Orchestra, Joe Lovano and RTE Dublin, Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, as well as for DLF (Deutschlandfunk)[the nationwide broadcasting station], NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), HR (Hessischer Rundfunk), and SWR (Südwestrundfunk) [the state radio stations].
Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Köln, Germany
Piano, Composition, Arrangement