JT Ross
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JT Ross


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"Recommended to fans of high quality harmonica blues . . ."

"His Chromatic work is especially impressive on his [original instrumentals] 'Doggin It' and 'Top Hat'. Recommended to fans of high quality harmonica blues. Ross is also impressive on'Too Much Crime In The City,' a mid tempo jazzy piece and burns up William Clarke's 'Pawn Shop Bound'. On the solid version of the Willie Dixon classic 'Young Fashioned Ways,' he utilizes an authentic microphone technique, again pointing to the fact that Mr. Ross is about tradition, without getting lost in reproduction. The band is absolutely superb throughout, which makes this an enjoyable listen on multiple fronts." - Big City Blues Magazine

"A pleasant surprise comes our way from Southern California . . ."

A pleasant surprise comes our way from Southern California in the form of J.T. Ross, with his debut CD, Loaded (South Side Records). Harmonica player / singer Ross is backed by the cream of the crop of L.A.-based session dudes, including John Marx (guitar), Rick Reed (bass), Steve F'Dor (piano) and Paul Fasulo (drums). Like many other contemporary West Coast blues bands, this ensemble carries a lot of influence from bands like William Clarke etc. In fact, one of the stronger numbers on Loaded is a version of Clarke's "Pawnshop Bound." "If I Get Lucky" is highlighted by incendiary guitar work from Marx . Ross really tears it up on the chromatic harmonica on the upbeat instrumental "Doggin’ It'"; this tune, more than any other, shows that he's ready to take his place with the other Southern California harp stars. Both Marx and F'dor get plenty of solo time on the mid-tempo, restrained blues of "Too Much Crime In The City." The album closes with another fine instrumental, the slow blues "Top Hat," which again allows Ross to demonstrate his prowess on the chromatic harp. Overall, Loaded is a very satisfying blues album. Keep a close watch on Ross in the future. - Blues Bytes

"JT Ross doesn’t beat around the bush . . ."

“When I see you baby, my heart skips a beat/let me tell you, mama, I’m in heat.” JT Ross doesn’t beat around the bush. The singer/harmonica man takes his cues from the golden age of Chicago blues. He’s now centered in Los Angeles. He cooks on a cover of Jimmy Reed’s “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby?” John Marx mixes it up nicely on guitar, mainly in a supporting role; he steps out in style on the sharp shuffle “If I Get Lucky.” Loaded (South Side Records #007) is convincing stuff. - Blues Revue Magazine

"JT Ross Proves Himself On This Debut CD"

"There are so many Harmonica/Guitar CDs that it takes a spark of individuality to make one stand out. Example: this 13-cut set from JT Ross. Born in Chicago, where he took tips from Junior Wells, he lives in Los Angeles . The fare is direct , no frills blues, with Ross taking a traditionalist tack on the harp while still sounding up-to-date. No horns here, and the piano sounds like it's in the building next door. Several songs have contemporary themes: soul-ish What Is Going On? and Too Much Crime In The City, the latter at a remarkably languid pace given its noir and urban vision of paranoia. Steve F'dor's piano... counterpoints John Marx's jazzy guitar. Marx used to work with the late L.A. harp strongman William Clarke, and those who liked Clarkes work will be reminded by this music. The band is confident in varying beats--particularly on [JT Ross original] Doggin' It , where Ross is all OVER a Chromatic [harmonica]. I Need Some Money is a shuffle...with a positively roaring solo from Ross. It Ain't Right locomotes mightily...Jimmy Reed's Ain't That Lovin' Ya Baby? is given upbeat treatment... JT Ross' [original composition] Top Hat proves to be a showcase for an interesting [chromatic] Harmonica excursion...Ross' Harmonica work reveals harmonic exploration and unique phrasing."
- Living Blues Magazine

"JT Ross carries us into an exciting new frontier for the blues . . ."

"LOADED delivers the full, rich, pulsing sound of Chicago blues. Its confident, hard hitting mix of harmonica, vocals and guitar reafirms the power of the blues and its many voices. With haunting vocal lines like"People die for the color of their skin". Ross reminds of the roots of his music. His powerful harmonica style evokes the sound of LITTLE WALTER and carries us into an exciting new frontier for the blues." - William Farris

"Loaded is a solid Blues Record . . ."

LA-based harpman JT Ross' debut on South Side Records is loaded with heaping helpings of Chicago blues. Chicago is in his blood. JT was born in the Windy City, but makes the City of Angels, and nightspots like Harvelle's in West LA or The Falcon Club in Hollywood, his home. JT's musical apprenticeship included work at the Chicago's Checkerboard Lounge where he learned from bluesmen like James Cotton and Junior Wells. James and Junior's lessons weren't lost on JT: he's got a big-fat chromatic harp with tone to spare. Sample "I've Got to Know" online at www.southsidela.net/jtross/ and you'll see what I mean. JT Ross' Loaded is a solid blues record that showcases a harp player with the potential to reach peaks scaled by Kim Wilson, Carey Bell, or James Cotton. - Cosmic Reviews

"JT ROSS brings a contemporary message to the blues . . ."

"Singing a soulful program of Blues and Boogie, JT ROSS brings a contemporary message to the roadhouse, dance hall, nightclub, and auditorium stage. His vibrant, chromatic harmonica weaves in and out of each number with adventurous thrills to spare. His band backs the vurtuosic artist with alacrity through syncopated jump blues, piano based boogie shuffles, and mainstream blues.Ross is from Chicago--He now lives in the southland--Chicago's loss is our gain. His expressive voice and searing Blues harp color the album with eliments familiar to a wide audience...Ross makes it easy to relate, while providing an enjoyable musical experience." - Southland Blues Magazine

"Blues On Stage"

Harpman JT Ross originally hails from Chicago, but is now based in LA. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his influences include a range of harp masters from Chicago (Little Walter, Junior Wells and James Cotton) and the West Coast (William Clarke). The Clarke connection is reinforced with the release of "Loaded," his debut CD, where he is joined by members of Clarke's band. The album opens with "I've Got To Know," the first of several tracks written by producer Jimmy Morello (which appeared on his 1998 CD "The Road I Travel" on JSP Records). It chugs along nicely and offers newcomers a first taste of Ross' big fat harp sound. It is swiftly backed up by another three Morello tunes, where Ross puts the band through their paces and they come up to the mark collectively and individually, and lays down some tasty licks on chromatic and diatonic harps. Following an uptempo interpretation of Jimmy Reed's "Ain't That Lovin' Ya Baby?" Ross really comes into his own on the instrumental, "Doggin' It." If the sign of a master harp man is how well he handles a chromatic, this one shows that Ross is right up there with the best of them. It is a cracking tune that bounds along very energetically, before Ross digs into the Morello songbook once more. After romping through Clarke's "Pawnshop Bound," which features some Jerry McCain-like "Scratch My Back" interludes, Willie Dixon's "Young Fashioned Ways," where Ross sings through the harp mic, and one more Morelli number"Can't Get No Rest," Ross polishes the chromatic for one last shot. "Top Hat" is an easy going, finger snapping jazzy number, where Ross' playing once more calls to mind William Clarke. "Loaded" is one of the best debut albums of the year. JT Ross is a mighty fine harp player, with a good voice. Pairing him with William Clarke's band was an inspired move for his first album. "Loaded" shows that Ross is a major harp talent that is well worth checking out. - Blues On Stage

"Ross shows off many different styles of the blues"

J. T. Ross began playing the harmonica when he was two. Now this self taught musician has combinded his harmonica and vocals skills on his South Side Records debut. Ross shows off many different styles of the blues and, just like the title suggests, this CD is loaded.The CD opens up with "I'VE GOT TO KNOW" and some guitar licks by John Marx. "WHAT IS GOING ON?" is a social commentary that still moves the feet. An opening rockabilly guitar riff sets the tone for "IF I GET LUCKY", and it's the honky tonk piano work by Steve F'Dor brings it home. J. T.'s voice and harp take Jimmy Reed's "AIN'T THAT LOVIN' YA BABY?" and makes it his own."DOGGIN' IT" is a swinging instrumental that features drummer Paul Fasulo, bassist Rick Reed and the rest of the band cutting loose. "TOO MUCH CRIME IN THE CITY" is a heavy shuffle for those of you who yearn for the simple life. "I NEED SOME MONEY" is a statement we've all made at one time or another. The slow blues of "I NEED TO GO HOME" heads into the desperation of "PAWNSHOP BOUND".On a good version of Willie Dixon's "YOUNG FASHIONED WAYS", Ross again leads with his harp. "IT AIN'T RIGHT" sounds like a locomotive rolling through town. The swinging "CAN'T GET NO REST" heads into the instrumental "TOP HAT", which ends this thirteen song ride. J. T. Ross LOADED, the title almost says it all. It should read J.T. Ross, LOADED with talent - Caught Live


Mr. Ross' first solo CD "Loaded" debuted on the top of the Living Blues Radio Charts. JT has played on many Blues, Country, Rock, Funk, Pop, Soul, R&B & Jazz Recordings.



"A Bright Light From The Third Generation of Electric Harp Players"
by Southern California Blues Society President - Cadillac Zack

Since the Big Bang explosion of amplified blues harmonica in1950's Chicago, the instrument and its stylings have migrated in many directions. But arguably no region has fallen more in love with that sound than the West Coast.

Due heavily to the influence of Windy City titans, George "Harmonica" Smith and Shaky Jake Harris, settling in L.A. in the 1960s, a small legion of inspired fans would eventually go on to become the next generation of modern day harp heroes. That triumvirate included Rod Piazza, William Clarke and Kim Wilson (from Goleta, CA). As the young guns of their day, their successes (apart from Clarke who passed in 1996) are still happening.

However, it's easy to lament over the empty chasm that currently exists with the new generation of young harp men. One may ask, "Where is the 'third-generation' of electric harp greats?"

Enter JT Ross.

Dubbed "The Harmonica Boss", he might just be the answer. A truly strong player, rooted in tradition, whose chromatic work has a depth and excitement seldom-heard on the current scene, Ross's back story is as unusual as it is amusing.

Born in Chicago, he was fortunate to have a dad who could provide him a gateway into the black, ghetto taverns where the great blues luminaries still held court in the 1970s. His German-born, Jewish artist father went on to illustrate album covers for Sonny Boy Williamson, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart and even created the now famous logo for Alligator Records. In gratitude for the pro bono logo Alligator president Bruce Iglauer kept JT's
family on his list of promo recipients for every single future blues LP that would be released over the next thirty-plus years. JT sites this as his most unswerving inspiration; "Every month, throughout my entire life, I'd receive a package containing the latest searing modern blues records out of Chicago. That was a serious musical education!"

Through his father's deep involvement in the blues community, the toddler was literally bounced on the knees of legendary bluesmen such as James Cotton, Hound Dog Taylor and Howlin' Wolf while they instructed Ross on how to toot his new toy -- a "C" harmonica.

In those days, divorce was commonplace. It wasn't long before Ross's parents split up. This meant he'd often be left home alone, while his impoverished mother pursued her acting career. These periods of solitude enabled JT's love for the harmonica and singing to flourish.

It wasn't long before his domineering Irish Catholic grandmother stepped in to the picture and assumed the role of guardian. Under her Dickensian supervision, he was subjected to the wrath of "seven mean-ass uncles; including a pool shark, a junkie pimp, a tough golden gloves boxer, a bookie, a knife grinder, and two military men as well as two hard-as-nails aunts who used to baby-sit me and my brother while they tended bar as we played pool and pinball. No joke!"

"Our only relief from Chicago's steamy summers came when my grandma would take us to her dilapidated cabin in rural Michigan to live off the fat o' the land by making us; chop and stack wood for winter, hunt deer & small game, fish and pick fruit to make moonshine and preserves… all while I was corrupted by my younger uncles and their throng of ruffians." Ross adds, "Somehow I wound up with a promiscuous seventeen year-old girlfriend when I was eleven!"

In early 1980 luck changed. Ross's mother landed a TV pilot in Hollywood. So they packed up a U-haul truck and headed west. Upon settling in LA, Ross was overwhelmed by the surreal sunny contrast to Chicago. "In junior high, punk music was big. Blues wasn't." So he took up the drums and played in a garage band. However, when home alone he kept his dream alive; singing and playing the blues on his two-dollar tin sandwich.

After six more years of additional struggle there was suddenly tremendous success in television for his stepfather. But, along with this new family prosperity came a strange dichotomy; Ross's new peripheral immersion in show business set his standards incredibly high, yet he never quite identified with much of it, since he moved away in his teens, just as the family was gaining financial stability. As a result JT didn't get to live the opulent life of Riley he saw so many of his friends enjoying. His girlfriend at the time (Wendy Wilson – daughter of Beach Boy Brian Wilson) had the number 1 song with the bullet on the Billboard pop charts with MTV darlings Wilson Phillips. JT got to play harp on the record working with luminary producer Glen Ballard and earning his local 47 Musician's Union card.

During the blues boom in the early 1990's, Ross found inspiration to pursue blues music as a legitimate career, and there's been no looking back ever since. Performing countless shows around Southern California and then in late 2003 Southsi