Friday, December 23, 2011

Musical Ambassador ....

Clay Ross is an Ambassador of Jazz.

No, he really is.

He has that title from the State Department.

He's a talented young man from Anderson, SC who has made a name for himself on the music scene.

Clay blends Brazilian folk with American Bluegrass and wraps it all together in a jazzy package.

Clay brought his 6-man band to the Pour House last Tuesday and had the place jumpin'.

Many here remember him from Gradual Lean as he honed his jazz chops.

Then he headed up to New York, traveled back and forth to Brazil and created a sound and style he calls Mantuto.

Ze Mauricio was the Percussionist who played everything in sight to make amazing sounds.

Edward Perez was on bass (with cowbells?!) and Richie Barshay was excellent on drums.

Rob Curto on accordian and Rob Hecht on fiddle held center stage with Clay for a glorious evening.

The second set began with a quiet salute to Jack McCray who died last month.

Jack was the founder in 2008 of the JAC, Jazz Artists of Charleston and a close friend of Clay.

"We'd meet for brunch at Joesph's and he always asked me to play 'Melancholy Baby.'"

"I never did so this one's for you Jack."

(Click on the pictures to see more detail.)

The sound - as usual - was just perfect. Not easy to do with the varied percussion instruments, balanced with strings.

Clay made a point to walk around and chat briefly with everyone in the place during the intermission. Have not seen that before.

Nice guy. Very ambassadorial.

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