Her songs draw on real life experiences that most of us can relate to…
Photograph by Monika S Jakubowska
With the release of her seventh album, Thoughts, Conversations and To Do Lists, vocalist, composer, producer and journalist Fiona Ross has established herself as one of the finest in the UK.
Her music knows no stylistic boundaries and her songs draw on real life experiences that most of us can relate to. In doing so, her compositions exhibit a passion and zest for life, and her live performances are unforgettable experiences.
Maintaining such a busy schedule writing, performing and working tirelessly as the founder of the award winning organization Women In Jazz Media it was a pleasure to catch up with Fiona and talk to her about her all time favourite albums.
Of her selection, Fiona says, “I always struggle with ‘top ten’ lists as it’s impossible to choose just ten of anything that has inspired me, so I have selected ten albums that have been with me from my youth, that have stayed with me and inspired and influenced me significantly.”
Rickie Lee Jones – Pirates
I actually discovered this album, her 2nd one, before her equally brilliant 1st album, which I would also include if I was allowed. The opening for this album ‘We Belong Together’ is just stunning and drew me in literally within a couple of notes and I have been hooked ever since. This is storytelling at it’s very best.
Michel Camilo – Michel Camilo
Anything by Michel Camilo is in the list for me, but it is first album that has been with me the longest. I was introduced to Camilo when I met someone who had decided to spend a year travelling and had packed a very small bag to take with him around the world. This was before streaming and the only music he had decided to take with him was 6 Camilo CDs. Once I listened I could absolutely see why. Apart from the obvious technical virtuosity, Camilo music makes feel so very alive.
Hiromi – Another Mind
Funnily enough, a past student of Michel Camilo who I mention above, and again pretty much any Hiromi album is on the list for me. You can’t go wrong with the legendary Anthony Jackson on bass and her trio work with Anthony and Simon Phillips is mind blowing. Technical virtuosity to another level, the richness and fullness of sound she creates is incredible.
Jesus Christ Superstar – Original Soundtrack
I used to sneak into my brother’s bedroom and go through his records when he was out. As he is 10 years older than me, I was always deeply fascinated by his music. This was the only ‘musical’ in his collection. Before Andrew Lloyd Weber became the Lloyd Weber we all know ( love or hate), he wrote the brilliant Jesus Christ Superstar.
Initially a concept album due to a lack of funding for performance, this is nothing like the Lloyd Weber most people know. Hugely progressive rock influenced with some soul, funk and folk in there too. I was fortunate enough to MD a production of this and I love every bit of the score. The original film version is an absolute treat too.
Oscar Peterson – Night Train
Yes, most people have this album in their lists, and I have loved Oscar since I was very young – I have a huge photo of Oscar in my home. As a classically trained pianist, I was completely fascinated by Oscar and spent many, many hours trying to learn transcriptions of his solos and being very upset that my hands were just not big enough to play half the things Oscar did. I love his graceful and skillful use of repetition in this album, especially this track:
Anita Baker – Rapture
This was one of the soundtracks for my teenage years and the start of my exploration of the legendary big voice female singers such as Aretha, Whitney Houston, Chaka Kahn etc. The depth and grace of Anita Bakers vocals blew me away.
George Gershwin – Piano Concerto in F major
A masterpiece from the maestro George Gershwin. I spent hours practicing this and always wanted to perform this live for my father as it was one of his favourite pieces. It has so many inspired elements – haunting melodies, fantastic energy. I love this.
10cc – Greatest Hits 1972-1978
The was the first album I was given, a birthday present from my brother and I remember thinking that this must be proper grown up cool music if was getting it from my brother. Who at the time I thought was cool. I don’t think I was wrong.
Prince – Purple Rain
I couldn’t possibly have a list without including Prince and again, I could include many of his albums, but as with many, this was the first album I had of his. That solo…
Billie Holiday – The Legend Of (CD)
When I was about 12, I was told that if I wanted to understand jazz, I needed to study Billie Holiday. So, this was my starting point and what an introduction it was.
For more information visit Fiona’s website
Click here to read our review of Thoughts, Conversations and To Do Lists