Born in the Midwest, Teresa Ross enjoyed the gift of family music that spanned four generations. At the young age of 13, she became a professional singer. In high school she was performing regularly with the 'Johnny McCoy Orchestra' at the Tropics nightclub in Dayton, Ohio. Teresa recalls her early exposure to jazz at the age of eighteen, about to leave home for her first gig, “my mother taught me about 30 jazz standards and I thought I was pretty hot stuff." Her mother warned "you’re okay, but you’ll sound better when you know what you’re singing about."
"I graduated from high school on a Saturday afternoon”, Teresa explains, "and the next morning we loaded my things into a van and I moved to Cincinnati. There I performed at the Emanon Jazz Club with the 'Ed Moss Trio'; Ed on piano, Bob Bodley on bass and Barry Reis on drums. The musicians were deadly serious and the culture was intense Bebop. I was in over my head but I held my own and learned to trust my ears."
Experiences with other types of music followed; performance on the road with a top 40 band, and disco, funk and light jazz in numerous groups. Connections with players from the University of North Texas led Teresa to Dallas where she performed with the extraordinarily popular 'Bill Tillman Band' (Tillman of ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ fame). There was also session work in Dallas, singing jingles and radio ID's. “Over time,” Teresa relates, "singing commercial music resulted in a loss of my enthusiasm and ambition. After meeting my husband and moving to Colorado in 1995, I took a much needed sabbatical. Music took a backburner for a time until I met guitarist, Tom Lavenia, a superb Bebop player from New York. We formed a duo and I rediscovered my love for jazz. I enjoyed scatting and exploration of the old repertoire with my new, more mature perspective. My voice was authentic for the first time."
During the past few years, Teresa has performed in Colorado with the R&B/Jazz band, 'The Hues of Blues', the 'Brad Tarpley Trio' and regularly with her own 'Sweet Ross Jazz Quintet'. For most of her life, fans had encouraged her to record a release of her own. Inspired by a fellow musician’s recent project, Teresa Ross recorded her solo jazz debut, Better Than Anything.
Regarding the project, Teresa says “I was apprehensive at first, performing with musicians of this caliber. After all, Eric Gunnison had been Carmen McRae's accompanist for a decade, and the trio (Mark Simon on bass and Paul Romaine on Drums) have played together for over twenty years. The sessions, however, were magical and a clear validation of what I am doing with my life and career. Producing Better Than Anything has been a tremendous journey.”
Better Than Anything will make listeners hip to the talented Teresa Ross who is on her way to becoming an important name in the jazz world.