Drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr.
is releasing his latest album entitled Falling Forward
(Spice of Life Records) on August 4, 2017 (the record release concert will be held on August 9, 2017 at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola). The album marks his fourth project as a leader and features vibraphonist Joel Ross
and bassist Reuben Rogers
, with special guests, vocalist Vuyo Sotashe
and pianist Stephen Feifke
Widely regarded as one of the top jazz drummers of his generation, Ulysses Owens, Jr. (Joey Alexander
, Kurt Elling
, Wynton Marsalis
, Christian McBride
, Gregory Porter
), continues to broaden his portfolio of work, further establishing him as a noted bandleader, gifted composer, and arranger. The concept for his latest release stemmed from his desire to assemble a smaller group of musicians from whom he draws inspiration. That, in turn, led Owens to tap noted vibraphonist Joel Ross and in-demand bassist Reuben Rogers to join him to form the trio called THREE. He states, “I hadn’t recorded a solo album in a few years, and really desired to record a smaller group of players that inspired me. Within the trio context is musically and sonically where I feel very comfortable, but also where I feel like I can push and go in any direction with the right guys around me. Joel Ross is such a young talent and ball of fire musically, and Reuben Rogers is an anchor and has been a musical partner of mine for the last few years. I knew that with both of them, anything would be possible for me in this new phase of my career.”
The band’s first album, Falling Forward
, showcases a varied repertoire ranging from classic standards to upbeat, funk-driven numbers, to more dulcet, emotive pieces. Of his musical selections, Owens states “I wanted to create a list of songs that would be accessible to the new jazz listener, but at the same time, could be appreciated by a true jazz fan. I also wish to bring more of this great music to a broader audience and hope people develop an affinity for the genre through this album. My only agenda is to make great music.” Owens feels that 'Falling Forward' aptly describes his current place in life and adds “I am at peace even in the midst of taking risks and finding balance in enjoying personal trials, because growth is born out of lack of comfort and challenging the weakest place within." When reflecting upon the album title’s deeper meaning he shares “Falling Forward comes from a speech that Denzel Washington gave to a graduating class where he explained the way to lead a more fulfilling life is not to look for a fallback plan, but to constantly keep challenging yourself to ‘Fall Forward’ and pursue your dreams whole- heartedly.”Falling Forward
was produced by Keith Witty with executive producer Tomoki Sassa, and was recorded in February 2017 at Big Orange Sheep Studios in Brooklyn, NY. The album will be available for sale on August 4, 2017 via leading digital music providers; it was released in Japan on May 24, 2017, and has already received rave reviews from Jazz Japan magazine and other top Japanese publications.