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Swingin' at the Mobius

On Monday, Oct. 16, the John Ellis Band will perform at the Mobius. Tickets are $10.

"It's that mix of North and South, Big Easy and Big Apple, funk and futuristic sounds that makes Ellis one of the more exciting young artists to emerge in recent years," says All About Jazz New York.

John Ellis makes his debut performance in Ashland at the Mobius on Monday, Oct. 16. Joining his band will be some of the finest young musicians in modern jazz today, including guitarist Mike Moreno, bassist Alan Hampton and drummer Derrek Phillips.

The 32-year-old tenor saxophonist, who first made a name for himself on the national music scene as a member of The Charlie Hunter Trio, will be touring in support of his latest recording, By A Thread, on HYENA Records.

The album, which follows up last year's critically acclaimed, One Foot In The Swamp, marks the emergence of John Ellis as a full-time solo artist, having recently left his post in Hunter's group with whom he had served for over five years. Having found continuous momentum building behind his own records and tours, Ellis felt it time to devote full energy to his own music. If the results on By A Thread are any indicator, the decision was a wise one.

On By A Thread, John Ellis recruited a number of his New York City musical peers to record with him, including Aaron Goldberg on piano, Mike Moreno on guitar, Reuben Rogers on bass and Terreon Gully on drums. Opening the album with the full-tilt barnburner "Ferris Wheel," Ellis and company wind their way through nine original compositions that are at once dynamic and soulful. "Little Giggles," an undeniable highlight, is an instant classic, showcasing Ellis' penchant for sweeping melodies and memorable jazz hooks that find their way deep into the listener's sub-conscience. On "Lonnie," Ellis crafts a sly and seductive funk-jazz number with a bold tenor saxophone lead wrapped around a slithery groove. It's a stunning example of the range Ellis and his band cover with aplomb.

John Ellis' previous record, One Foot In The Swamp, was met by critical praise upon its release in 2005. The New York Times declared: "John Ellis stays true to the idea of the Southern expression in jazz, from New Orleans funk to folkloric melodies, he has the knack for writing catchy, fluid, optimistic songs; but he is also fascinated by the ways musicians can break down structure and create it on the fly."

The New Orleans Times Picayune raved: "Ellis plays with a bold statement of purpose staking out his place at the vanguard of creative jazz."

For the North Carolina native and one time New Orleans resident now living in New York City, the future is indeed bright. John Ellis has quickly become one of the most exciting young players in jazz and improvised music today.

The Mobius is located at 281 Fourth Street. For more information, call 488-8894.