Marty Ehrlich

Marty Ehrlich (born May 31, 1955) is a multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinets, flutes) and is considered one of the leading figures in avant-garde jazz.[1][2]

Marty Ehrlich
Background information
Birth nameMartin Lewis Ehrlich
BornMay 31, 1955 (1955-05-31) (age 67)
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
GenresJazz, avant-garde jazz
Instrument(s)Saxophone, clarinet, flute
Years active1973–present
LabelsTzadik, Palmetto, Enja, New World


Though born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the portion of Ehrlich's youth spent in St. Louis, Missouri, was particularly important. As a high school student at University City High School in nearby University City, the teenager came into contact with the influential Black Artists' Group (BAG, 1968–72) which was modelled after the AACM in Chicago.

Later, during formal studies at the New England Conservatory, Ehrlich developed a particularly close relationship with pianist Jaki Byard. It was here that he was most deeply schooled in traditional jazz forms, as well as Western European classical music. During these formative years, Ehrlich was exposed to the cultural, political and musical workings of radical African-American art, and was mentored by such legends as Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake. Often associated with "Radical Jewish Culture" and cult icon John Zorn, Ehrlich has throughout the years nevertheless resisted classification under any single musical genre. He has, for instance, been a mainstay of trumpeter Randy Sandke's Inside Out ensemble, which offers a unique combination of avant-garde–associated figures and mainstreamers.

Since his 1978 move to New York, Ehrlich has been a performer and leader with numerous bands of legendary repute, as well as a soloist for a number of major orchestras. But perhaps his most important recent contribution to the story of Jazz and improvised musics, The Long View, was completed at a residency in Harvard. The composition (scored for an ensemble of both strings and horns) is inspired from abstract paintings by Oliver Jackson, and has been hailed as "one of a handful of integral long-form works in jazz, standing beside those of the likes of Hemphill, Mingus, and Ellington" (Boston Phoenix).

Ehrlich currently lives in New York City, commuting to teach at Hampshire College, and devoting much energy to his duo with pianist Myra Melford, and trio with Mark Dresser (contrabass) and Andrew Cyrille (drums).


As leaderEdit

  • The Welcome with Anthony Cox, Pheeroan akLaff (1984)
  • Pliant Pliant with Stan Strickland, Anthony Cox, Bobby Previte (1988)
  • Falling Man with Anthony Cox (Muse (1989)
  • The Traveller's Tale with Stan Strickland, Lindsey Horner, Bobby Previte (1990)
  • Side by Side with Frank Lacy, Wayne Horvitz, Anthony Cox, Andrew Cyrille (1991)
  • Marty Ehrlich's Dark Woods Ensemble, Emergency Peace (New World, 1991) – with Abdul Wadud, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lindsey Horner
  • Can You Hear a Motion? with Stan Strickland, Michael Formanek, Bobby Previte (1994)
  • Marty Ehrlich's Dark Woods Ensemble, Just Before the Dawn (New World, 1995) – with Vincent Chancey, Erik Friedlander, Mark Helias, Don Alias
  • New York Child with Stan Strickland, Michael Cain, Michael Formanek, Bill Stewart (Enja, 1996) – recorded in 1995
  • Light at the Crossroads with Ben Goldberg (Songlines Recordings, 1997) – recorded in 1996
  • Marty Ehrlich's Dark Woods Ensemble, Live Wood (Music & Arts, 1997) - with Erik Friedlander, Mark Helias. recorded in 1996.
  • Marty Ehrlich's Dark Woods Ensemble, Sojourn (Tzadik, 1999) – with Erik Friedlander, Mark Helias, Marc Ribot
  • The Waiting Game with Mike Nock (Naxos Jazz, 2000)
  • Marty Ehrlich's Traveler's Tales, Malinke's Dance (OmniTone, 2000) – with Tony Malaby, Jerome Harris, Bobby Previte
  • Song (Enja, 2001) – with Uri Caine, Michael Formanek, Billy Drummond, Ray Anderson
  • The Long View (Enja, 2002)
  • Line on Love (Palmetto, 2003) – with Craig Taborn, Michael Formanek, Billy Drummond
  • News on the Rail (Palmetto, 2005) - recorded in 2004
  • Marty Ehrlich Rites Quartet, Things Have Got to Change (Clean Feed, 2009)
  • Fables (Tzadik, 2010)
  • Marty Ehrlich Rites Quartet, Frog Leg Logic (Clean Feed, 2011)
  • Marty Ehrlich Large Ensemble, A Trumpet in the Morning (New World, 2013) - recorded in 2012
  • Trio Exaltation (Clean Feed, 2018)

As sidemanEdit

With Ray Anderson

With Anthony Braxton

With John Carter

With Anthony Coleman

With Don Grolnick

  • Nighttown (Blue Note, 1992)

With the Julius Hemphill Sextet

With Michael Gregory Jackson

  • Gifts (Arista Novus, 1979)

With Leroy Jenkins

With John Lindberg

With Myra Melford

With Roscoe Mitchell

With Bobby Previte

Awards and nominationsEdit

ARIA Music AwardsEdit

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music. They commenced in 1987.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2000 The Waiting Game (with Mike Nock) Best Jazz Album Nominated [3]


  1. ^ marty ehrlich
  2. ^ Overdue Ovation: Marty Ehrlich, Professor Who Performs
  3. ^ ARIA Award previous winners. "ARIA Awards Best Jazz Album". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 26 June 2022.

External linksEdit