JJJJJerome Ellis' work features contemplative soundscapes that explore relationships among blackness, disabled speech, divinity, nature, sound, and time.

December 14, 2023
7:30 pm
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Join us in welcoming JJJJJerome Ellis back into our venue home for a celebratory album release concert. Stuttering, Afro-Caribbean composer, poet, and performer JJJJJerome Ellis returns to the National Sawdust stage to celebrate the release of his upcoming solo piano album. JJJJJerome Ellis, who previously opened for Faten Kanaan at National Sawdust last season, will play some pieces from the album on piano, electronics, and saxophone. JJJJJerome Ellis' work features contemplative soundscapes that explore relationships among blackness, disabled speech, divinity, nature, sound, and time.

JJJJJerome Ellis is a stuttering, Afro-Caribbean composer, poet, and performer. His works are invitations to healing, transcendence, communion, and deep listening. Through an interdisciplinary practice that focuses on oral storytelling, improvisation, and the interrelations between speech, silence, disability, and religion, he’s collaborated with choreographers, rappers, playwrights, booksellers, typographers, podcasters, toddlers, and filmmakers. Mr. Ellis’ work has been presented or developed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Lincoln Center, MASS MoCA, and WKCR. He is a writer in residence at Lincoln Center Theater. Born in Connecticut to a Jamaican mother and a Grenadian father, he was raised in Virginia Beach, VA.

As a composer Ellis was awarded a 2015 Fulbright Fellowship to research traditional samba performance and write new music in Salvador, Brazil. There he performed with local musicians at Teatro Gamboa Nova and Feminaria Musical at the Universidade Federal da Bahia. Recent sound design/composing credits include Help (The Shed), Passage (Soho Repertory Theatre), the Radical Craft Design Salon (TED Conferences), and LAB RAT by A$AP Rocky (Sotheby’s/YouTube). From 2008 to 2011, Ellis was resident composer and saxophonist with pianist Trudy Silver at 5C Cafe and Cultural Center in New York City. As a jazz saxophonist, he has performed with Joseph Daley, Aaron Scott, and Shayna Dulberger. Ellis earned his B.A. in music theory and ethnomusicology from Columbia University, studying ear training and counterpoint with pianist and composer Ramin Arjomand. 

His diverse body of work includes: contemplative soundscapes using saxophone, flute, dulcimer, electronics, and vocals; scores for plays and podcasts; albums combining spoken word with ambient and jazz textures; theatrical explorations involving live music and storytelling; and music-video-poems that seek to transfigure historical archives. 

Dec 14

JJJJJerome Ellis