Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Lisle Ellis
Lisle Ellis is a multifaceted creator whose work reflects his interests in music, visual art, computers/technology, and community. As a composer and improvisor-bassist his oeuvre spans three decades and two countries and has brought him international recognition as an artist with an exceptional vision. Some critics consider him to possess an important voice and to have made a significant contribution to the field of experimental music. Recent years have also brought him attention as a creator of computer/electronic music and as a visual artist.

Ellis began playing electric bass in his teens and worked professionally from an early age in numerous environments including studios, radio & tv shows, and even strip clubs. When his teacher and mentor, Walter Robertson, suddenly died in 1974, Ellis abandoned his studies at a music conservatory in Vancouver, Canada in favor of the seminal, and now legendary, Creative Music Studio in New York. There, over a period of several years, he had intimate contact with the vital NYC music scene at a time of surging changes and extraordinary developments.

Lisle Ellis, as the 1986 winner and first recipient of Canada's prestigious Frederick Stone Award -- given annually to a musician for integrity and innovation -- affirms the pioneering role he played in the development of improvised and experimental music in his native Canada. Particularly, in Vancouver in the early 1980's, and the late 80's in Montreal, Ellis was a conspicuous activator of musician alliance organizations, performance venues, and concert series presentations. One collective in particular, Vancouver's New Orchestra Workshop, is still active nearly thirty years later.

Almost immediately after relocating to the United States in 1992, Ellis's music began to attract attention and acclaim on a global level. His recording, Kaleidoscopes: The Ornette Coleman Songbook (Hat Art), with pianist Paul Plimley, was given five stars in Downbeat Magazine and has been hailed as a modern masterpiece.

Ellis's distinct instrumental voice has been heard in a multitude of concerts on the world stage in the company of legends of the avant-garde such as Paul Bley, Peter Broetzmann, Andrew Cyrille, Joe Mcphee, and Cecil Taylor; leading contemporary players Marilyn Crispell, Dave Douglas, Fred Frith, and John Zorn, and on more than 40 recordings for international labels such as Black Saint, DIW, and Hat Art, and New World.

Currently, Ellis's principal interest is in developing an electro-acoustic architecture he calls string-circuitry-confluence. Secondary to that are projects such as his long standing trio with Larry Ochs and Donald Robinson called What We Live, Di Terra, an Italy based trio with Alberto Braida and Fabrizio Spera, and duos with pianists Paul Plimley and Mike Wofford.

Ellis lives in New York City.
CDs on which Lisle Ellis appears:
Plimley, Ellis, Cyrille Trio When Silence Pulls
Artist: Plimley, Ellis, Cyrille Trio
Title: When Silence Pulls
Label: Music and Arts CD-692(1)
Label page on this site: Music and Arts
Music and Arts CD-692(1)
Glenn Spearman Double Trio The Fields
Artist: Glenn Spearman Double Trio
Title: The Fields
Label: Black Saint BS 120197
Label page on this site: Black Saint
Black Saint BS 120197
Larry Ochs The Secret Magritte
Artist: Larry Ochs
Title: The Secret Magritte
Label: Black Saint BS 120177
Label page on this site: Black Saint
Black Saint BS 120177
Paul Plimley/Lisle Ellis Both Sides of the Same Mirror
Artist: Paul Plimley/Lisle Ellis
Title: Both Sides of the Same Mirror
Label: 9 Winds Records NWCD0135
Label page on this site: 9 Winds Records
9 Winds Records NWCD0135
Matthew Goodheart Sonoluminescence
Artist: Matthew Goodheart
Title: Sonoluminescence
Label: 9 Winds Records NWCD0186
Label page on this site: 9 Winds Records
9 Winds Records NWCD0186
Donald Robinson Trio Trio
Artist: Donald Robinson Trio
Title: Trio
Label: CIMP
Label page on this site: CIMP
What We Live Quintet for a Day
Artist: What We Live
Title: Quintet for a Day
Label: New World Records 001
Label page on this site: New World Records
New World Records 001