John Stowell & Mike Zilber with John Ehlis for an evening of solos, duos, trios

November 29, 2017 @ 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
John Stowell & Mike Zilber with John Ehlis for an evening of solos, duos, trios

$10 Music Charge, $7 Minimum pp

John Stowell and Michael Zilber with John Ehlis for an evening of solos, duos & trios.


John Stowell began his successful career in the early 1970’s with private study with guitarist Linc Chamberland and pianist John Mehegan. Both men were valuable mentors to John, allowing him to play with them as he progressed in his development. Several years later he met bassist David Friesen in New York City, and they formed a duo that recorded and toured prolifically for seven years, with performances in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

In 1983, John and David joined flutist Paul Horn and Paul’s son Robin Horn (on drums) for a historic tour of the Soviet Union. This was the first time in forty years that an American jazz group had been invited to play public performances in Russia. In 1993, 1995, 1998 and 2012 John returned to Russia, playing in numerous cities. His two sold-out performances in Kursk may have been the first appearances there by an American jazz musician.

John continues to tour, record and teach internationally. He has been Artist-In-Residence at schools in Germany, Indonesia, Argentina, and in the United States and Canada. He served as assistant director and performer in Oregon Public Broadcasting’s PDX Jazz Summit in 1991, and since 1995 has been a contributing columnist for a number of magazines, including “Downbeat”, “Guitar Player”, “Canadian Musician”, “Soundcheck” (Germany), and “Guitar Club” (Italy).

Recording/Performance Credits: Milt Jackson, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, Conte Condoli, Herb Ellis, Bill Watrous, Mundell Lowe, George Cables, Billy Higgins, Billy Hart, Richie Cole, Paul Horn, Tom Harrrell, Don Thompson, Dave Liebman, and many others.

San Francisco Bay Area based saxophonist and composer Michael Zilber is described by NEA Jazz Master David Liebman as “one of the best players and composers around anywhere. Period!” The Canadian-born ex-New Yorker has 10 albums to his name as a leader or co-leader. He has also performed or recorded with everyone from Liebman to Miroslav Vitous, Mike Clark, Dizzy Gillespie and Bob Berg, to name just a very few.

Zilber co-led a band with drumming great Steve Smith for eight years, releasing the top 20 recording Reimagined: Jazz Standards, Volume 1 in 2003. For the past decade, he has teamed up with guitar virtuoso John Stowell, most recently on 2016’s Basement Blues. Their 2015 Origin Records recording Live Beauty, made DownBeat magazine’s “best of the year” list for 2015, as well as garnering rave reviews from JazzTimes and All About Jazz. This was a follow-up to the group’s Shot Through With Beauty, which NPR jazz critic Andrew Gilbert picked as a top 10 record of the year. On Turning Ten: The Billy Collins Project, providing musical settings for the American Poet Laureate’s poems, was hailed by famed jazz journalist Bill Milkowski as a “work of art of the highest order.”

Zilber currently leads his “Originals for the Originals” project, with an upcoming 2017 Origin album release of the same name to feature high-profile sidemen Dave Kikoski, James Genus and Clarence Penn. Zilber also leads a project called Weather Wayne, his electric jazz homage to Wayne Shorter, recently playing to a sold out house at SFJAZZ.

Guitarist, mandolinist and multi-instrumentalist John Ehlis is a prolific composer and atypical bandleader. His musical ventures transcend the boundaries of any single style of music, while his collective offerings showcase the creative artistry and talents of each musician.

Drawn to traditional and folk music from around the world, Ehlis blends the sounds of many cultures into his own style. As a multi-instrumentalist, he learned the mandolin busking on the streets of Denmark, Germany and Italy and has studied various woodwind instruments and percussion, including the Balinese Gamelan. While visiting Zimbabwe he was invited to perform with Motsi Uruka at the Amakhosi Theatre in Bulawayo. He also performs and studies music of the Basques.

It was in San Francisco during the 1990’s where Ehlis fully embraced performing and composing original works, contributing his spirit and ideas to the flourishing and diverse music scene of the time. Steadfast collaborators included cornetist Jon Birdsong, guitarist David Lofton and percussionist Horacio Altan.

Since relocating to the East Coast in 2000, percussionist Glen Fittin has been a vital force in realizing his creative vision. Ehlis’s association with saxophonist Oliver Lake, pianist Karl Berger and bassist Chris White have further contributed to the evolution and clarity of his concepts.

Ehlis has performed with musicians ranging from jazz artists John Tchicai, Oliver Lake, Joseph Jarman, Karl Berger, Perry Robinson, Francis Wong, to vocalists Marie Afonso, Loire Cotler and Olivia Foschi, the instrument maker Ken Butler, Joe Craven, frame drum master Glen Velez, classical guitarist Philip Hii, singer/songwriters Scott E. Moore and Jessica Owen, dancer Charmaine Warren, composer and pianist Elizabeth Woodbury-Kasius, and a host of international artists including, Argentine guitarist Quique Sinesi, Basque musicians Tapia and Leturria, Ghanaian musicians Zorkie Nelson and Okee Nunoo, Danish drummer Kresten Osgood, Finnish saxophonist Mikko Innanen, Italian violinist Eloisa Manera, Pakistani singer Fawzia Afzal Khan, Russian painter Andrey Tamarchenko and Slovakian poet Gabriel Ariel Levicky.

Ehlis has participated in festivals ranging from the Claremont Folk Festival in California, Jai Aldi Basque Festival in Idaho, Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Festival of Colors in Detroit, Maiden Creek Old Time Music Festival in Pennsylvania, Copenhagen Jazz Festival in Denmark, and Vision Festival in New York.

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