There is only the deepest of merit in the professed respect for the roots of an artform. Respect for a sound, style, and the practice of an art. Throw into this mix an influencers’ list as rounded and iconic as these names, Chet Baker, Tom Waits, Louis Armstrong, Anita O’Day, Mel Tormé, Marvin Gaye, Oscar Peterson; then further stir up the ante with a background in theater and you’re in for the spirited original artistry of Whitney Ross-Barris.
She puts it all nicely this way, “We owe a lot to the granddaddies and mammas of jazz songwriting,… So, I try to approach standards with respect and really learn how they’re written, note for note, word for word, comma for comma. Only then do I allow myself to open them up for interpretation…”. The extra short blurb version of her website’s bio options sums her up this way – I like the way it cross plays with enjoyment of food and theater – In a sentence it says, “Whitney Ross-Barris whirls up an eclectic vocal jazz puree and lays it down on a bed of whimsical and theatrical pilaf”.