Firehouse 12  45 Crown Street  New Haven, CT 06510  203.785.0468

Marty Ehrlich


Performer's Website

Marty Ehrlich is one of the most celebrated artists of his generation, critically acclaimed as both composer and player. Equally fluent on clarinet, saxophone, and flutes, Ehrlich has been hailed as "one of the most formidable multi- instrumentalists since Eric Dolphy...the jazz dream musician" (The Village Voice). The New York Times calls him "one of the premier melodicists of his generation," and The Nation "one of his time's most original thinkers (with) a rare and wonderful talent, a now yearning, now biting attack and a stunningly voice like expressiveness." Jazz Zeitung states that "If there is a believable poetic sensibility in jazz, you will find it with Marty Ehrlich." The Jazz Journalist Association honored him as Wind Player of the Year in 2001, and as Clarinetist of the year in 2003.

Since moving to New York in 1978, Ehrlich has performed his compositions throughout America, Europe, and Canada with three ongoing ensembles. The music of The Marty Ehrlich Quartet has been called "sophisticated, rewarding work of a mature artist's vision, masterfully realized." (Barnes and Its most recent release is Line on Love (2003). The Traveler's Tales Group is a quartet of two horns and rhythm section. Its most recent recording, Malinke's Dance, was chosen as one the ten best recordings of 2001 in the Village Voice. The Dark Woods Ensemble features Ehrlich's woodwinds with cello and bass. Its most recent release, Sojourn, received an award from Absolute Sound Magazine as one of the three best recordings of the year. Ehrlich has recorded 14 CD's with these ensembles, on the Palmetto, Enja, New World, Omnitone, and Tzadik labels.

In 2003, Ehrlich released a CD of an extended composition for 23 musicians called The Long View. During 2002, this work was played in exhibition at Harvard University with the paintings of a long time collaborator of Ehrlich's, the visual artist Oliver Jackson. The Boston Phoenix called the piece "one of a handful of integral long-form works in jazz, standing beside those of the likes of Hemphill, Mingus, and Ellington."

Ehrlich has also been active as a collaborator with other composers. He currently works with pianist Myra Melford in the Melford/Ehrlich Duo and in a trio with Andrew Cyrille and Mark Dresser, called C/D/E. The duo recently released Yet Can Springon Arabesque, and the trio a self-titled CD on Pao. He has also released duo recordings with Muhal Richard Abrams, Mike Nock, Anthony Cox, and John Lindberg.

As a composer, the New York Composer's Orchestra, the Boston Jazz Composer's Alliance, The Lydian String Quartet, The Rova Saxophone Quartet, The Kitchen House Blend Orchestra, the New York String Trio, and pianist Ursula Oppens have commissioned him. He has received three artist fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, two composition grants from the NEA, and numerous grants from the Mary Flagler Charitable Trust and from Meet the Composer. Ehrlich has also been a composition fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Arts Center in Italy and the Blue Mountain Center in New York. In 1995 he was composer-in-residence at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston, and in 2000 he was the Peter Ivers Visiting Artist at Harvard University. In 2004 he received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for music compostition.

Ehrlich has also been in great demand as a sideman, appearing with a distinguished array of artists, covering numerous generations and idioms. He has performed in ensembles led by Muhal Richard Abrams, Ray Anderson, Fontella Bass, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Jaki Byard, John Carter, Anthony Davis, Jack DeJohnette, James Emery, Peter Erskine, Michael Formanek, Don Grolnick, George Gruntz, Chico Hamilton, Jerome Harris, Julius Hemphill, Andrew Hill, Robin Holcomb, Wayne Horvitz, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Myra Melford, Roscoe Mitchell, James Newton, Mike Nock, Mario Pavone, Ken Peplowski, Bobby Previte, George Russell, Randy Sandke, Leo Smith, John Zorn, and others. He appears on close to 100 albums with these composers.

In the classical field, Ehrlich has performed with the New York City Opera, the New York City Ballet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the St. Luke's Orchestra, the Birmingham (England) Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Chamber Music Northwest. He has premiered compositions written for him by David Lang and David Schiff. He has also toured with the Jose Limon and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dance companies.

Since 1997, Ehrlich has been actively conducting and performing the music of the late Julius Hemphill. An original member of Mr. Hemphill's Sextet, he has continued the group as its musical director, touring with the ensemble. The Hemphill Sextet recorded a critically acclaimed CD of Hemphill compositions called At Dr. King's Table, on New World. He has conducted the composer's jazz orchestra music with the Birmingham (England) Creative jazz Orchestra, The Muenster (Germany) Jazz Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Jazz Band, and the Harvard University Jazz ensemble.

Marty Ehrlich was born in 1955 in St.Paul, Minnesota He began performing in St. Louis Missouri, where he was raised. As a high school student, he became involved with the community of musicians and poets influenced by the innovations of St. Louis' Black Artist Group (BAG). He took part in a recording Under The Sun by the Human Arts Ensemble before leaving in 1973 for the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

At NEC, Ehrlich studied with George Russell, Jaki Byard, Joe Maneri, Gunther Schuller, and the legendary woodwind teacher Joseph Allard, receiving a B.A. in music. He graduated in 1977 as the first jazz major to be awarded the school's Chadwick Medal for outstanding achievement. In 1992 he was named a Distinguished Alumni of the conservatory.

Firehouse 12 Performances

Jason Robinson's Janus Ensemble Friday, November 30, 2012, 10:00p
Marty Ehrlich Rites Quartet Friday, November 11, 2011, 10:00p
Mario Pavone Orange Double Tenor Friday, December 10, 2010, 10:00p
Michael Musillami Trio + 3 Friday, May 22, 2009, 10:00p
Ehrlich/Melford Duo Friday, October 26, 2007, 10:00p
Dark Woods Ensemble Friday, December 9, 2005, 8:30p

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