Marty Ehrlich biography
Marty Ehrlich stands at the forefront of a new breed of jazz musicians critically acclaimed as both composers and performers. Equally fluent on clarinet, saxophone, and flute, Ehrlich has been hailed as "one of the most formidable multi-instrumentalists since Eric Dolphy...the jazz dream musician." (Village Voice). The New York Times calls him "one of the premier melodicists of his generation," and The Nation "one of his generation's most original thinkers with a rare and wonderful talent, a now yearning, now biting attack and a stunningly voicelike expressiveness."
Since moving to New York in 1979, Marty Ehrlich has performed extensively throughout America, Canada and Europe. In New York City he has led his ensembles in venues ranging from the Knitting Factory to Sweet Basil's to Carnegie Recital Hall. He writes primarily for the Marty Ehrlich Group (a quartet/quintet) and the Dark Woods Ensemble, a chamber-oriented group featuring Ehrlich's woodwinds with cello and bass. Ehrlich's recordings have received "best album of the year" awards from The New York Times, Billboard, Musician, the Village Voice, and CD Review.
Ehrlich is also active in collaborative projects. He has recorded his music in tandem with Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Cox, Ben Goldberg and John Lindberg. He currently co-leads two trios: Relativity, with Michael Formanek and Peter Erskine, and the Ehrlich/Dresser/Cyrille Trio.
As a composer, Ehrlich has been commissioned by the New York Composer's Orchestra, the Boston Jazz Composer's Alliance, the Lydian String Quartet, the Rova Sax Quartet, the New York String Trio, and pianist Ursula Oppens. He has received commissioning grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mary Flagler Charitable Trust, and Meet the Composer, and touring grants from Arts International. Ehrlich has also been a composition fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Arts Center in Italy and the Blue Mountain Center in New York, and composer-in-residence at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Since 1997 Ehrlich has been actively promoting and performing the music of the late Julius Hemphill. He has conducted the Birmingham [England] Creative Jazz Orchestra, the Muenster [Germany] Jazz Orchestra, and the New England Conservatory Big Band in Hemphill's large ensemble music. He also led a concert of Hemphill's music in New York City for the Lost Jazz Shrine series. Ehrlich serves as musical director of the Julius Hemphill Sextet, which recently released a critically acclaimed CD of unrecorded Hemphill compositions called At Dr. King's Table.
Ehrlich's credits as a sideman are extensive. He has performed in ensembles led by Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Jaki Byard, John Carter, Anthony Davis, Jack DeJohnette, George Russell, Andrew Hill, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, John Zorn, Myra Melford, Leroy Jenkins, and many others. He appears on close to 100 CD's, and has been active as a recording producer. Ehrlich recently premiered a bass clarinet concerto written by David Lang with the Birmingham [England] Contemporary Music Ensemble.
Marty Ehrlich was raised in St Louis, where he first heard the experiments of BAG (Black Artists Group). He graduated with honors from The New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard, George Russell, Gunther Schuller, and Joseph Allard. In 1992, Ehrlich received the NEC's Outstanding Alumni Award.
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