I played this past January with these guys in St Barts for the St Barts Music Festival. We had such a blast, and so I’m thrilled to be able to present the same group back home in NYC. The band is incredible: Reuben Rogers – bass, Gary Versace – organ/accordion/piano, Joe Dyson – drums, Joel Ross – vibes, and Eric Miller – trombone. We’re playing two sets this Tuesday, August 8th – 7:30 and 9:30pm. Click here for more info and to reserve tickets. You can even livestream the gig here.
The great Tom McDermott was kind enough to review Double-Wide’s CD “Charm”. Check it out below!
John Ellis and Double-Wide
Parade Light Records
John Ellis and Double-Wide is my kind of modern jazz band. There are no endless strings of Coltrane and Brecker licks in this music. Rather you get clever tunes, finely crafted counterpoint, and whopping dollops of humor. And with a lineup of sax, trombone, organ, sousaphone and drums (and occasional accordion), you hear some timbres rarely heard in jazz.
“Charm” is a NYC/Nola potpourri, with the Crescent City represented by sousaphone virtuoso Matt Perrine and the ever-elastic Jason Marsalis on drums. Trombonist Alan Ferber, organist Gary Versace and leader-saxophonist Ellis are NYC residents. This type of fusion often yields great results; and of course, Ellis was a New Orleans resident back in the 1990s.
John wrote all the tunes, and he is very careful on “Charm” to give each track a different stamp. “Booker” is not specifically evocative of the Piano Prince, but has two very catchy tunes, which may have given it opening-song status.
“High and Mighty” is a rambunctious shuffle with some rhythmic breaks from Pluto. The perfectly-titled “Horse Won’t Trot” plods along dolefully in a lopsided 5/4 stutter-step.
Things pick up with Raymond Scottian “Charm is Nearly Always Sinister,” with some ingenious interplay in the statement of the melody between Perrine and Versace. Eastern Europe is summoned up to a degree on “Old Hotel,” with shades of the Tin Hat Trio, and “International Tuba Day,” redolent of the Slavic brass band tradition. “Snake Handler” (tango), “Barbed Wire Britches” (funk), “Yearn” (gospel, but with some outre progressions) – Ellis’ conjures many styles without losing an ounce of his wonderfully quirky personality.
Helen Sung Quartet west coast tour starts on Wednesday featuring: John Ellis (saxophone), Boris Kozlov (bass), Darrell L. Green (drums) – (4/26-4/30), Terreon Gully (drums) – (5/2-5/5), Christie Dashiell (vocals) – (4/28-4/29):
April 26: The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts – Eugene, OR
April 27: Fremont Theater – Portland, OR
April 28: Bread of Life Church – Torrance, CA
April 29: blue whale – Los Angeles, CA
April 30: Salk Institute – La Jolla, CA
May 2: Yoshi’s Oakland – Oakland, CA
May 3: Unity Spiritual Center – Bellingham, WA
May 4: PONCHO Concert Hall at Cornish College of the Arts – Seattle, WA
May 5: Frankie’s Jazz Club – Vancouver, Canada
More info & tickets can be found at: helensung.com
Looking forward to the first year of this workshop in Singapore this April 8-16! Faculty will be Rory Stuart – guitar, Gregory Hutchinson – drums, Ben Williams – bass, Aaron Goldberg – piano, Jason Palmer – trumpet, and Camila Meza – vocals. Check here for more info.
I’m really excited to be playing at The Blue Whale again on October 28th. This is our first time back since “Charm” was released last year. The Blue Whale became a second home for me when I was a composition resident at the 18th Street Arts Center back in 2014, and many of these tunes were debuted there. Joining me will be Gary Versace on organ, Jon Lampley on sousaphone, Alan Ferber on trombone, and Mark Ferber on drums. Sets are at 9 and 10:30.
Im so thrilled to be bringing Double-Wide to Dizzy’s this Wednesday, August 3rd. Dizzy’s is one of my favorite rooms to play in the city, and this will be my first time there with this band. It’s going to be a great night. We’ll be playing tunes from our latest release, “Charm”, as well as some old favorites from our first two records. Head here for tix. Hope to see you there!
So happy to be in Japan again. This is my first time here as a leader, so it’s extra exciting. And I’m very lucky to have Kendrick Scott and Yasushi Nakamura joining me for these gigs. We’re mostly in the Tokyo area, but also heading over to Nagoya and Kyoto. Spread the word! Complete itinerary is below. More info on the shows page.
6/10(金) Pit inn(door 19:30 – show 20:00) / Tokyo /
6/11(土) Swing Hall(door 15:30 – show 16:00) / Musashino city Tokyo /
6/12(日) Star eyes(door 18:00 – show 19:30) / Nagoya city /
6/13(月) Le club jazz(door 19:00 – show 20:00) / Kyoto city /
6/15(水) Body & Soul(door 19:00 – show 20:00) / Tokyo /
6/16(木) NHK Fureai Hall(FM Radio Session ’16) / Tokyo /
6/17(金) Lifetime / Shizuoka city /
6/18(土) Body & Soul(door 18:00-show 19:00) / Tokyo /
I’m honored to announce that we will be bringing The Ice Siren to The Jazz Gallery this weekend as part of their 20th anniversary concert programming. The Ice Siren was a commission by The Jazz Gallery and debuted in May, 2009. It was a collaboration with playwright, Andy Bragen. Check out a sample here.
February 19th and 20th at The Jazz Gallery, 7:30pm and 9:30pm sets. Advance tix are here.
Gretchen Parlato and Miles Griffith – vocals
Hiroko Taguchi and Olivier Manchon – violins
Todd Low – viola
Cristopher Hoffman – cello
Marcus Rojas – tuba
Daniel Sadownick – percussion
Chris Dingman – vibes
Mike Moreno – guitar
John Ellis – saxophone and clarinets
JC Sanford – conductor