Dave Ellis

A lifelong resident of northern California, Dave Ellis has been a visible part of the 1990s Bay Area jazz scene of the 1990s, but is also interested in R&B, funk and rock. The gritty tenor saxophonist played in a high school jazz band in Berkeley and studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston before graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in music production and engineering. That year, he returned to California and formed the Charlie Hunter Trio with guitarist Hunter and drummer Jay Lane. The group played around the Bay Area quite a bit and recorded two albums for Blue Note before Ellis' departure in 1996, when he recorded his first album as a leader, Raven, for the San Francisco-based Monarch label. The late 1990s found Ellis (who was featured as a sideman on Dmitri Matheny's 1995 Monarch session Red Reflections) touring with his own group, as well as Ratdog, a band formed by former Grateful Dead member Bob Weir. In 1998, Ellis released his second album for Monarch titled In the Long Run, produced by veteran Orrin Keepnews, and planned to tour with the Other Ones, an outfit that included Dead alumni Weir and Mickey Hart, as well as Bruce Hornsby. This set him up to be a contributor to the Other Ones' debut album, The Strange Remain, and Ellis stayed reletively quiet until his first release on the Milestone label, State of Mind (again produced by Keepnows), in 2003. ~ Alex Henderson

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