Drew Gress

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Drew Gress
Gress in 2010
Gress in 2010
Background information
Born (1959-11-20) November 20, 1959 (age 64)
Trenton, New Jersey
Instrument(s)Double bass
Years active1980s–present

Drew Gress (born November 20, 1959) is an American jazz double-bassist and composer born in Trenton, New Jersey and raised in the Philadelphia area.


Gress studied at Towson State University and Manhattan School of Music.[1] In the late 1980s he worked with Phil Haynes, recording several albums with the group Joint Venture.[1]

In 1998, he released his first album as leader, Heyday, with his band Jagged Sky (featuring David Binney, Ben Monder, and Kenny Wollesen).[2] Gress wrote all except two of the compositions.[3] Two years later, he recorded Spin & Drift, on which he also played steel guitar. He recorded material for two further albums – 7 Black Butterflies and The Irrational Numbers – in 2004.[3]

Gress has taught at Peabody Conservatory and Western Connecticut State University. He has also served tenures as artist in residence at University of Colorado-Boulder and at Russia's St. Petersburg Conservatory.[1][2]

Gress has toured Europe, Asia, and South America.[2] Those with whom he has and continues to work include Tim Berne,[4] Uri Caine, Fred Hersch, Don Byron, Dave Douglas, and Erik Friedlander.[2]

Critic John Fordham described a performance by Gress's group as "one of the great jazz performances in Britain in 2002".[5] In 2004, the UK's BBC Radio and London's Guardian selected his quartet's live radio broadcast as Jazz Concert of the Year.[citation needed]

Composition awards include an NEA grant (1990),[2] funding from Meet the Composer (2003).[2]

Playing and composing style[edit]

The DownBeat reviewer of Vesper, a collaboration between Gress and the trio expEAR, wrote that the bassist "has exquisite time and a composer's sense of line, a combination that allows him an insightful level of counterpoint in his playing".[6] The DownBeat reviewer of Gress's The Sky inside wrote that he "favors a focused restraint, a sort of concentrated tension that wrings the maximum inspiration from minimal elements, and which maintains a taut severity even when spare free passages burst into angular swing".[7]


As leader[edit]

  • Heyday (as Drew Gress's Jagged Sky) (Soul Note, 1998)
  • Spin & Drift (Premonition, 2001)
  • 7 Black Butterflies (Premonition, 2005)
  • The Irrational Numbers (Premonition, 2008)
  • And Again with Shims Trio (Deepdig, 2012)
  • The Sky Inside (Pirouet, 2013)

As sideman[edit]

With Kenny Werner

  • Beauty Secrets (RCA/BMG, 1999)

With John Abercrombie

With Tim Berne

With Uri Caine

With Joint Venture

  • Joint Venture (Enja, 1987)
  • Ways (Enja, 1989)
  • Mirrors (Enja, 1994)

With Yelena Eckemoff

  • In the Shadow of a Cloud (L&H, 2017)
  • Better Than Gold and Silver (L&H, 2018)
  • I Am a Stranger in This World (L&H, 2022)

With others


  1. ^ a b c Kennedy, Gary W (2002). "Gress, Drew". Grove Music Online. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.J581700. Retrieved 12 October 2020. {{cite book}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Drew Gress | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  3. ^ a b Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 605. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  4. ^ Fordham, John (November 29, 2002). "Drew Gress/ Tim Berne: Vortex, London". The Guardian. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  5. ^ Fordham, John (17 October 2003). "Tim Berne's Science Friction, The Sublime And". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  6. ^ Considine, J. D. (March 2018). "expEAR & Drew Gress: Vesper". DownBeat. Vol. 85, no. 3. p. 58.
  7. ^ Brady, Shaun (October 2013). "Drew Gress: The Sky inside". DownBeat. Vol. 80, no. 10. p. 54.

External links[edit]