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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Marty Ehrlich: A Trumpet In The Morning

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A Trumpet In The Morning is a first for multi-reedist Marty Ehrlich; it's the first album completely dedicated to his large group works and the first album under his name that's basically directed by his hand rather than his horn(s). The intrepid Ehrlich, who fell under the sway of St. Louis' Black Artists Group (BAG) in his formative years and fell in with the AACM crowd when he arrived in New York in the late '70s, has been putting out adventurous music under his own name for three decades. More than two dozen dates on labels like Tzadik, Enja, Black ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet: Frog Leg Logic

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The premier of Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet, Things Have Got To Change (Clean Feed, 2009), featured the venerable multi-instrumentalist's engaging originals bolstered by a handful of previously unrecorded pieces by his mentor, the late Julius Hemphill (1938-1995). Drawing on Hemphill's seminal work in the St Louis-based Black Artists' Group (BAG), and his innovative writing for the World Saxophone Quartet, Ehrlich has proven to be one of the legendary saxophonist's most ardent devotees, leading Hemphill's self-titled saxophone sextet after his passing.Named after a phrase culled from a poem by James Marshal--founder of the St. Louis-based Human Arts Ensemble (with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Anderson - Marty Ehrlich Quartet: Hear You Say

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Trombonist Ray Anderson and reed player Marty Ehrlich first played together in 1978 as part of Anthony Braxton's band. Thirty-one years later, with extensive individual discographies, the pair finally formed a band of their own and recorded a concert at the 2009 Jazz Festival Willisau, in Switzerland. Hear You Say is this recording--a highly energetic, exciting, adventurous live performance. The two leaders share writing credit--four tunes by Ehrlich and three from Anderson. Both men are inspired writers and performers; their compositions are terrifically inventive and both writing and playing are invested with humor. It's a winning combination. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich: Things Have Got To Change

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The clarity that's so immediately apparent in Marty Ehrlich's alto sound permeates his work, so that there's a quality at once naked and luminous in the music heard here. The quartet with trumpeter James Zollar, cellist Erik Friedlander and drummer Pheeroan akLaff and the concept harkens back to the early Ornette Coleman Quartet, each member committed to an intense lyricism, an insistence on the emotional power of blues and hymn. There are moments in the opening “Rites Rhythm" that even suggest something as specific as Coleman's “Lonely Woman." The Coleman sensibility, though, is clearly filtered through the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich Rites Quartet: Things Have Got To Change

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One of the seminal artists of the New York Loft jazz scene, composer and multi-instrumentalist Julius Hemphill (1938-1995) left a diverse legacy that lives on through the tireless efforts of saxophonist Tim Berne and multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich. Hemphill's earthy forays with cellist Abdul Wadud in the early seventies broke new stylistic ground, unapologetically drawing inspiration from funk, soul and R&B. His inventive writing for unconventional instrumental combinations was further realized as a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet and leader of his own saxophone sextet in the 1990s.

An ardent supporter, Berne featured Hemphill on his expansive 1992 JMT ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich / Myra Melford: Spark!

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Multi-reedist Marty Ehrlich and pianist Myra Melford share more than a virtuosic touch and rugged lyricism. Their work embodies a single-minded approach to duo playing that lends an air of cohesion to the most abstract improvisation, allowing their ideas to blend to the point where Ehrlich's tone becomes a growling, vibrato-laden extension of Melford's sensitive voicings and provocative counterpoints or a serene answer to one of the pianist's jarring exclamations. Spark! opens and closes with “Hymn, a bluesy Ehrlich original that has become a mainstay of the duo's repertoire over their decade-plus association. The first take opens ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Marty Ehrlich Trio in Tel Aviv

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Marty Ehrlich Trio New Opera House Tel Aviv, Israel Friday, January, 19, 2007

The first performance in Israel of New York-based composer and reed player Marty Ehrlich offered a concise overview of the career of the gifted player. Ehrlich presented his new trio--Shanir Ezra Blumenkrantz on bass and oud along with drummer Mark Fereber--and hosted Israeli saxophonist Albert Beger in the second half of the concert.

Ehrlich opened the concert with two pieces from his last quartet release Line on Love (Palmetto, 2003), the title tune and “Like I Said," which were ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich: News On The Rail

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Multi-reedist Marty Ehrlich can always be counted on to make thoughtful, provocative music on the modern-creative end of the jazz spectrum. His last album (The Long View, 2003) featured an extended large-group composition inspired by the work of painter Oliver Jackson. News On The Rail is a somewhat less abstract effort comprising eight new tunes written for what he calls a “large small ensemble--actually a sextet.An avant gardist with an appreciation for melody, Ehrlich has long been associated with innovative artists like Julius Hemphill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell. His compositions here intermingle free jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich: News on the Rail

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Jazz is a big word. And the jazz world is a big world. In an independent study of mine, I am trying to define just how big that world is. But that's the thing. It's boundless. And not only is it boundless, but musicians are constantly exploring new frontiers, trying things that haven't been tried before. Maybe that's why I love jazz, because I hope that some day I can possess the mindset to do something completely new. Marty Ehrlich is one of those innovators. For News on the Rail, Ehrlich (alto sax and clarinet) decided on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich: The Long View

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Jazz needs composers like Marty Ehrlich. Like his mentor Julius Hemphill, Ehrlich, while proficient in the more conventional small group settings, envisions something greater, hearing music of multiple textures, moods, origins and voicings. Divided into six movements and a postlude, The Long View was originally conceived as aural accompaniment to an exhibition of paintings by Oliver Jackson (another Hemphill cohort). That this work stands on its own is implicit.

The first movement commences with a bracing sax statement by Ehrlich, followed by the stirring entry of twelve more musicians on a range of reeds, brass and rhythm. Trumpeter Eddie Allen ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Marty Ehrlich: Knows No Bounds

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My first experience of Marty Ehrlich was as the lanky, bespectacled fellow standing near my uncle on the back cover of the Creative Improvisers’ Orchestra LP The Sky Cries the Blues. A relatively obscure Leo Smith-directed album cut during the trumpeter’s sojourn in the New Haven scene of the early ‘80s, it is but a blip on the screen of Ehrlich’s vast discography. He and my uncle performed in a bass clarinet dialogue on side one, and though they never again shared wax together, the 26-year-old virtuoso was firmly implanted in my brain. Just over 20 years later, Ehrlich is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich: The Long View

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The Long View came out of a collaboration between Marty Ehrlich and his friend, the renowned painter Oliver Jackson, during a ten-week Harvard University residency in 2000. Inspired by Jackson’s work since the 1970s, Ehrlich sees his impressionistic paintings as “a visual counterpoint to what I have imagined in sound.” Although the music was developed to interact in exhibition with Jackson’s paintings, The Long View – comprised of six movements and a short postlude – stands on its own. Besides being inspired by Jackson’s six paintings, there is no direct correlation between them and Ehrlich’s compositions.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich: Line on Love

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Bold black brush strokes distinguish the cover of Line on Love, an offering whose compositions arouse with dense sensuality. The latest CD from reedman Marty Ehrlich features mood-inducing intros that allow him and pianist Craig Taborn to find their groove. Bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Billy Drummond especially enhance the dark cool feeling of Ehrlich’s playing. There is little frilly activity here and the session achieves elegance without daintiness. With the exception of respectful opener, “Hymn,” Ehrlich produces a thick rich texture that reminds of red velvet, mahogany patinas and dimly lit rooms.

The alto line of “Like ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Ehrlich: Line on Love

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The presence of Marty Ehrlich on any recording more or less guarantees it will be interesting, innovative, and somewhat enigmatic. Mr. Ehrlich likes to tend toward the modern jazz/avant-garde side. On Line on Love he does not stray far from that esthetic but is still particularly well-behaved, which allows for a stimulating and educational listening experience. Ehrlich is joined by long time collaborators Michael Formanek on bass, Billy Drummond on drums, and Craig Taborn on piano. Collectively, these musicians concentrate on eight exceptional Ehrlich compositions.

Immediately you will note a Phillip Glass tone and rhythm, quietly repetitious and soothing with ...



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