Alumni Ryan Rost, M.F.A. ’14 produces new album

Image: Ryan Rost making music in his home studio.

Jazz musician and UCI Music alumnus Ryan Rost released his jazz trio album, “I Was Here,” on Oct. 29, 2020.

The album features Doug Carter on piano, Peter Buck on drums and Rost leading on bass, and explores Rost’s curiosity through a unique compositional framework.

“I’m constantly asking myself compositional questions like, ‘Can I write something that I like that has no melody?’ or ‘can I make this weird time signature groove, and will I still be able to improvise over it?’ Then I set out to see if I can. I don’t often just write a piece of music that doesn’t have some sort of internal challenge to it,” Rost said.

Rost received his bachelor’s degrees in English and Jazz Performance from UCI in 2000 and 2002, returning to earn his M.F.A. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT) in 2014. In 2019, Rost decided to set up a recording studio in his own home, a feat that he accomplished using the skills learned in the ICIT program. It was there that he recorded the entirety of “I Was Here” over the course of two days.

When reflecting on the album’s title, Rost attributes its name to the inspiration behind the work as a whole: legacy.

“I wanted a document of the work I had been doing — something that I can come back and be proud of, hopefully I wanted something that my family, my kids, could one day listen to as a piece that I created and executed from start to finish,” Rost said.

As Rost grew as a musician during his years at UCI, he now cites Kei Akagi (head of the UCI jazz program), his bass teacher Darek Oles, and ICIT professor Christopher Dobrian as his biggest influences.

Rost’s album is available on Spotify or his website,

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Posted Date: 
Monday, March 1, 2021