Guitar Night featuring fingerboard wizard John Stowell and local artist John Ehlis with Takashi Otsuka on bass and Craig Levine on drums

December 27, 2018 @ 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Guitar Night featuring fingerboard wizard John Stowell and local artist John Ehlis with Takashi Otsuka on bass and Craig Levine on drums

$10 pp music Charge, $7 pp minimum (food/drink)

John Stowell-guitar
John Ehlis-guitar
Takashi Otsuka-bass
Craig Levine-drums

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.


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 guitarists Juan Falu and 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 Copenhagen Jazz Festival in Denmark, Vision Festival in New York.Denmark, 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, and Cowboy Poetry Festival in Nevada.


Takashi Otsuka studied bass with Lincoln Goines, Jay Anderson, David Finck and Louis Kozma, composition and arranging with Herb Pomeroy, Bob Freedman and Ken Pullig, and improvisation theory with Gary Burton at Berklee College of Music.


He has performed with various artists such as Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Ben E. King, Swing Express under the direction of Bill Conway, Composer’s Workshop Big Band under the direction of Mike Treni, Latin Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Victor Rendon, Don Sebesky, Bob Mintzer, Charles McPherson, Marion Meadows, Lew Solof, Ted Curson, Claudio Roditi, Jon Faddis, Steve Turre, Slide Hampton, Norman Simmons, Andy Bey, Larry Coryell, Vic Juris, John Hart, Bob Devos, Ron Affif, Pete Levin, Jack Walrath, Billy Hart, Eliot Zigmund and many more.


Craig Levine has been tooling around on the drums, mainly in between his many endeavors since he was in junior high school.  Craig has played in various big bands, and small groups, ranging from jazz to rock, to a hybrid blend of klezmer with punk.  He lives in Montclair.



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