“John Ellis and Double-Wide” was formed in 2007, though it’s history starts long before that. In the mid 90’s John played a memorable gig in New Orleans with David Torkanowsky on keys, Herlin Riley on drums, the legendary Johnny Adams on vocals, and Matt Perrine on sousaphone. The feeling of the music that night, unburdened by stylistic constraints and with the sousaphone holding down the bass, made such an impression on John that he was determined to start a band with this instrumentation.
John has always wanted to be a conduit between the two cities he loves most: New Orleans, where he got his formative training, and New York City, where he’s made his home for the last 20 years. He set out with Double-Wide to do just that, enlisting drummer Jason Marsalis to join Matt Perrine as the New Orleans contingent, and inviting NYC-based organist and accordionist Gary Versace to round out the group. It was with great anticipation that the group met for the first time, when they convened to record their critically acclaimed debut album, Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow. The 4-star review in Downbeat called it “regionally tinctured and laced with a healthy dose of originality and flair.” The New York Times in a glowing review said “Rhythmically it has that New Orleans duality of being full of funk and lighter than air.”
“…regionally tinctured and laced with a healthy dose of originality and flair.”
The band has been building momentum ever since, performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the St Barth’s Music Festival, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, and the Lake George Jazz Festival among others. In 2010 they released their second CD, Puppet Mischief, which added Alan Ferber on trombone and Gregoire Maret on harmonica and introduced Brian Coogan on organ. Billboard called it “jazz steeped in the who-dat nation through a hip Brooklyn lens” and in March was saying it “so far ranks as the top jazz album in 2010.” In August 2012 the band made its debut on the Main Stage of the Newport Jazz Festival. Double-Wide’s third record, Charm, was released in 2015 on John’s label, Parade Light Records. Relix Magazine called it “some seriously funky music for hot-footin’ and grooving.”