STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Marty Ehrlich Sampler


Sign in to view read count

This week StLJN's video spotlight shines on multi-instrumentalist, composer and former St. Louisan Marty Ehrlich, who will be performing with his Rites Quartet in a concert presented by New Music Circle at 7:30 p.m. next Friday, October 4 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Ehrlich, who's 58, grew up in University City and was influenced early on by the music of St. Louis' Black Artists Group and Human Arts Ensemble, with saxophonist Julius Hemphill serving as a particularly important example and mentor. After attending the New England Conservatory of Music, Ehrlich moved to New York, where he has established himself as a noteworthy soloist, composer, bandleader and sideman working on a variety of musical projects with many different collaborators.

Though many critics and fans tend to think of Ehrlich as an avant-garde or experimental musician, his work encompasses a range of approaches, from free improvisation to completely notated compositions, and  today we've got a half-dozen videos that demonstrate that by showing him at work with several different ensembles.

The first clip features the Rites Quartet, which consists of Ehrlich (alto sax and clarinets), James Zollar (trumpet), Hank Roberts (cello), and Michael Sarin (drums). They're seen here in October 2010 in Linz, Austria, performing “Rites Rhythms" from their 2009 album Things Have Got To Change.

Down below is another clip of the group, labeled “Fun Fair a Dusk" that was recorded just a few days later on the same tour in Hradec Kralove in the Czech Republic.

The rest of today's videos show Ehrlich performing with other groups, starting with “Hear You Sing," recorded in 2007 in Bruges, Belgium. This video features Ehrlich with a completely different quartet, with James Weidman on keyboards and melodica, Allison Miller on drums, and Brad Jones on bass. The fourth clip shows yet another foursome, this one co-led by Ehrlich and trombonist Ray Anderson, with Jones on bass and John Betsch on drums.

The fifth video features Ehrlich playing bass clarinet on “Solace" in an excerpt from a performance by his sextet, which includes Anderson and Zollar as well as David Berkman on piano, Greg Cohen on bass and Matt Wilson on drums. The sixth and final clip has excerpts from a duo show by Ehrlich and bassist John Lindberg, recorded in 2009 in NYC.

In addition to his concert on Friday, on the evening of Thursday, October 3, Ehrlich will take part in a public discussion and Q&A with Dennis Owsley, host of KWMU's “Jazz Unlimited." The free event, also sponsored by New Music Circle, will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar.

Owsley also will broadcast an interview with Ehrlich in the 9:00 p.m. hour of his program this Sunday, September 29. You can hear the program on 90.7 FM, or tune in online at

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

Post a comment


Jazz News


Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.