Ross Valory - All of the Above

by Kevin Wierzbicki

This debut solo album from Valory, long the bass player for superstar rock band Journey, has actually been in the making for almost two decades. Valory left Journey in 2020 and that gave him more time to work on All of the Above, allowing him to delve into notes and ideas for songs that he'd been compiling since 1995. Valory intentionally took his time, seeking to get to the real meat of the music, and the old adage "it was worth the wait" certainly applies. Ross works here with a crack band that includes his former rhythm section partner from Journey, drummer Steve Smith as a guest player along with other guests Marc Russo on sax (Yellowjackets, the Doobie Brothers), Greg Errico on drums (Sly & the Family Stone) and percussionist Karl Perazzo from Santana. Valory himself plays not only bass but keyboards and guitar as well. The set is mostly instrumental and begins with the lively "Wild Kingdom," a percussion heavy groove where Russo puts the "wild" into the song with some feral honking while Valory's keyboard work propels the melody. Russo also shines on "Nightflower" but he's more sedate in fitting with the mood of a song called "Nightflower," and Valory's bass gives the cut a funky, nighttime edge. Valory's bass is the lead instrument for "Touched Pt II," a sublime jazz cut with a few spacey effects that reminds both of the jazz masters and prog rock bands. "Windmill" moves to a Latin-flavored vibe, again with great sax from Russo, and harmonica player Les Stroud guests on a take on War's "Low Rider," the only vocal number on the album. Valory digs deep and goes back more than 50-years for a cover of "Incident at Neshabur," a cut originally from Santana's Abraxas album that here lets Ross get a great workout on keys, guitar and bass; the song segues into "Senor Blue" for a nine-minute-plus jazz fusion delight. The eight song effort ends with the moody "No One Wins a War" where Valory's bass, again the lead instrument, evokes images of sadness and regret.


Share this article

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Pin it Share on Reddit email this article