Jazz quartet takes center stage
Two upcoming music festivals will give exposure to the Michael Ross Quartet, which also plays twice a week at King Corona Cigars in Ybor City.
By GINA VIVINETTO
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 6, 2001
The Michael Ross Quartet is one of the Tampa Bay area's finest jazz ensembles. Led by bassist Ross, who has played with jazz luminaries such as Nat Adderly and Herbie Mann, the quartet has been tapped to perform its all-original music at King Corona Cigars every Friday and Saturday. The band, which has been together two years, also performs at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday and on several dates of the Verizon Music Festival in October.
"It's great to be this busy." says Ross. "This project was an outlet away from the less enticing things we all do to live. So, it's become the tail wagging the dog, in a way, which is wonderful."
Doghouse, the band's debut album, is a mind blower, brimming with 27-year-old LaRue Nickerson's feisty guitar.
"He's the baby of the band," Ross says, laughing. "He's just great."
Nickerson, along with Ross, composes the quartet's music.
"We got really lucky with him," Ross says. "We're really lucky, period. We're all blessed to be able to play together."
Doghouse also features David Pate's punchy sax, Ross' fluid bass and Thomas Carabasi's engaging percussion, which includes delicious patter from mallets and cymbals. Carabasi has since been replaced by Orlando drummer Walter Hubbard, but Carabasi will sit in with the band during Jazz Holiday.
Ross is thrilled about the exposure the quartet will enjoy from both festivals.
"The Verizon festival has so many different musical styles, we hope to draw some people into jazz."
Ross says he's pleased to see the quartet is attracting younger fans into its audience of loyal jazz aficionadoes.
"That may be from playing so much in Ybor," Ross says. "I'm not sure why, but it's interesting."
The Michael Ross Quartet performs at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at King Corona Cigars, 1523 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, (813) 241-9109.
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