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liberty ellman Articles

LIVE REVIEWS

Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre

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Liberty Ellman Trio Crescent Arts Centre jny:Belfast, N. Ireland April 13, 2018 Liberty Ellman was short his pedals for this Moving On Music gig at Crescent Arts Centre--lost somewhere in transit--but he certainly wasn't short of musical ideas during a constantly engaging ninety-minute set. With four releases in twenty years Ellman maybe isn't the most prolific of leaders yet this only tells part of the story, for the New York-based guitarist--a cornerstone of ...

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Liberty Ellman: Radiate

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Guitarist Liberty Ellman works at the crossroads of intellectual inquisitiveness and rabid expressionism. That's been evident both in his own small but impressive discography and in his musical travels with Henry Threadgill's Zooid over the past fifteen years. On Radiate--Ellman's first album in nine years, third on the Pi Recordings imprint--those two roads quickly meet. The album-opening “Supercell" proves to be a deep-grooving masterpiece that plays unification and disconnection against each other to create something magical. Damion ...

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Liberty Ellman: Radiate

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Radiate is guitarist Liberty Ellman's fourth album under his own name since 1997 and his third for Pi Recordings, following 2006's Ophiuchus Butterfly. Ellman's output as a bandleader over the years has been secondary to his role as an in-demand sideman however, working with such luminaries as Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Myra Melford, and Jason Robinson--hence his somewhat limited discography. Most significantly, Ellman has been a charter member and sole guitarist in renowned composer Henry Threadgill's longstanding Zooid ensemble, serving ...

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Liberty Ellman: Ophiuchus Butterfly

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Ophiuchus Butterfly is guitarist Liberty Ellman's third release as a leader, but his widest exposure has come as guitarist in Henry Threadgill's acoustic Zooid ensemble. From the distinctive opening notes of the title track, one can hear that Ellman has been absorbing lessons from the master. Blending Threadgill's taste for multiethnic rhythms and Eastern scales with his own loose interpretation of urban M-Base funk, Ellman delivers a truly forward-thinking album. Ellman's second album for Pi features an eclectic ...

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Liberty Ellman: Ophiuchus Butterfly

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Being different just for the sake of being different is simply not enough. But then Liberty Ellman has never fit into the category of a run-of-the-mill jazz guitarist. Like a Bohemian artisan who dabbles in a variety of styles yet develops a unique identity, Ellman has performed impressively within mainstream, abstract jazz, and hip-hop settings--sometimes combining all three. On the heals of the highly acclaimed Tactiles (Pi Recordings, 2003) comes the creative and exhilarating Ophiuchus Butterfly, which ...

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Liberty Ellman: Tactiles

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The fact or myth that jazz guitarists are underrated does not belie the reality that in the hands of a capable musician, the stringed instrument commands expression and presence. Liberty Ellman’s latest offering, Tactiles, obliterates the “normal" jazz guitar mindset with its eclectic and progressive tendencies. Having hung out on stage and in the studio with the likes of pianist Vijay Iyer and multi-instrumentalist Henry Threadgill, Ellman brings a natural, forward thinking progression in the creation of music. His debut ...

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Liberty Ellman: Tactiles

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Pi's roster boasts a several heavyweight avant-guarde jazz talents: Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quartet, Anthony Braxton, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Henry Threadgill. But they also offer the young newcomers, including pianist Vijay Iyer and, with the release of Tactiles, guitarist Liberty Ellman. Tactiles is a quartet outing – guitar/sax/bass/drums – that falls, surprisingly, on the mainstream side of jazz, given Pi's veteran artists list and Ellman's relative youth, plus his stint in ...

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Liberty Ellman: Tactiles

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There's something remarkable about musicians employed by Henry Threadgill. While they're virtually guaranteed to be exceptional players, their personal styles are almost entirely eclipsed by the challenge of his compositions. Going all the way back to the Fred Hopkins/Diedre Murray duo, what you get with Threadgill's bands is very different from what you get with the members alone. Thus a list of his bandmates is a roster of talented players with a variety of takes on the jazz idiom.

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Liberty Ellman: Orthodoxy

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Talk about talent deserving wider recognition. Guitarist Liberty Ellman has been placed in the M-BASE camp by some, but it’s not quite so easy to pin him down. His highly enjoyable debut, Orthodoxy, is an ultra-hip mix of abstract swing and spacey but intense groove—call it Greg Osby meets In a Silent Way by way of The Sorceror. The slow, odd-metered funk and seductive melody of “Psi Missing" is a standout.Some of the tunes are rather long and ...