|Location: Sacramento, California, USA|
|Description: I am a Smooth Urban Jazz keyboardist, the music has to make you move,have great rhythm, induce you to listen. I am influenced by Joe Sample,George Duke,Brian Culbertson.|
|Biography: I suppose, it might seem to some that making music,being a musician, is some complicated thing.I believe when you see the music,feel the music,hear the music, its not really that difficult. Im not saying that there arent hard things about “the music business” , there are always things to go through. But the pure act of making music is beautiful in its simplicity. Larry Ellis is simple, I believe music is a spiritual gift, we are created to” enjoy it” play it”‘write it”compose it”.My grandfather and all his brothers were all musicians, they could all play all instruments, my grand pop played the piano mostly, ever since I was three I would sit and BANG on the piano.Then at six I took lessons. Eventually I began to learn chords and theory and from there it was all jazz. My first album, Herbie Hancock “Headhunters” second album Billy Cobham “‘The Pleasant Pheasant”.Bob James, Joe Sample,Chick Corea,Bobby Lyle, George Duke, Ronnie Foster, You get the picture!
In 1996 Larry wrote, arranged, produced his first cd , “My Rhythm” a collection of all original music, even though the cd only had limited success, it enabled larry and the band ,now known as “Southwind”, to begin opening for major acts, which included, Gerald Albright,Boney James,Spyro Gyra, Pete Escavedo,Joshua Redman & The Braxton Brothers to name a few. Two years later, Larry was back again with another cd entitled “Impressions”, 12 more original tracks, this cd received national airplay, and established Larry as a new and up and coming artist.
In 2009, larry began work, on a new approach, since previous cds were all original music, Larry decided to cover some old rock and pop songs, the urban smooth jazz way, This effort resulted in a cd entitled “Your Favorites My Way” 10 songs done “my way”. Because of the web, Larry is currently receiving international airplay, and is currently looking foward to a nationwide tour, where the fans will get to see firsthand the music they have only heard so far,” on the radio”. On June 6th 2010, Larry Ellis Jr won two BMA “Sounds Of Soul” Music Awards, Best Jazz Musician, Best Jazz Band.
June 6, 2010 is a date that I will long remember, for two reasons; I attended my first Black Music Awards show and I fell in love with jazz.
The 8th annual “Sounds of Soul” Music Awards, held at the Crest Theater in Sacramento, CA, was a thrilling event, to say the least. Musicians, vocalist, and groups from all over the country vied spectacularly . Some faces were familiar and some were not, but each and everyone gave the audience an award winning performance. From Gospel to Rap, R & B to Jazz, it was truly a melting a pot for “Soul”, an exciting whirlwind of entertainment.
It was during the performance of Larry Ellis Jr, one of the west coast’s most spectacular jazz musicians and best kept secret, that I discovered a long dormant “love” for jazz. Thank you Larry Ellis Jr. Don’t misunderstand, I have always liked jazz, respected jazz, listened to jazz, but love it? I don’t think so. But now, I know I can love it with the same passion that I’ve always applied to R&B.
Listening to the interpretations of “Ode to Billy Joe”,”Nuthin’ But a G Thing” from his latest CD “Your Favorites My Way” Ellis and his band Southwind, gave me a new out look on the soul of jazz. For the first time I felt the spirit of jazz flow from the soles of my feet to the crown of my head and it was then I knew, that from that point on, jazz and I would be lovers! It took an extraordinary master of music to bring this die hard R&B fan into the house of jazz. No wonder he won two, not one,but two, Sounds of Soul awards. Larry Ellis Jr won the Soul award for ”Best Jazz Band” and “Best Jazz Musician”. No Surprise there!
There is so much more to say about this jazz impresario, but talk is cheap, listening is better.
Get to know and enjoy Larry Ellis Jr. He’s not hard to find. Just follow the music.