Liberty Ellman

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Liberty Ellman
Liberty Ellman by Alan Nahigian.jpg
Guitarist Liberty Ellman
Background information
Born (1971-07-17) July 17, 1971 (age 49)
London, England, U.K.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, audio engineer, record producer
Labels Pi
Associated actsZooid

Liberty Ellman (born July 17, 1971) is a jazz guitarist born in London and raised in the United States, beginning in New York City. In the early 1980s, Ellman's family moved to California. Before leaving New York, he attended City and Country School in Greenwich Village.



In the 1990s, Ellman was associated with the M-Base musical scene in San Francisco, California, where he played with Vijay Iyer, Miya Masaoka, Ledisi, Steve Coleman, Eric Crystal, EW Wainwright's African Roots of Jazz, Omar Sosa, and D'Armous Boone Collective. He worked with hip hop acts the Coup and Midnight Voices, [1] and performed opening spots for Devo, Ice Cube, Pharcyde, and the Stray Cats. During this time Ellman composed for the San Francisco Mime Troupe. [1] He released his debut album on his label, Red Giant Records, in 1997 and moved back to New York City the following year. [1]

Ellman has performed and recorded with Ben Goldberg, Okkyung Lee, Steve Lehman, Joe Lovano, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Barney McAll, Myra Melford, Butch Morris, Greg Osby, Matana Roberts, Josh Roseman, Michele Rosewoman, and Wadada Leo Smith. In 2014 he worked with Jason Moran as part of Luanda Kinshasa, a video installation by filmmaker Stan Douglas. In 2016 he was asked by John Zorn to perform a solo concert of a selection of Zorn's Bagatelles.

He is a member of Henry Threadgill's ensemble, Zooid. Threadgill's album In for a Penny, in for a Pound won a Pulitzer Prize for Music. Ellman is credited as producer and mixing engineer on that album. He mixed and mastered Be Good by Gregory Porter. The album was nominated for Grammy Award.

In 2016, Ellman was voted No. 1 Rising Star guitarist in the DownBeat magazine Critics' Poll. The expanded Critics' Poll at JazzTimes magazine named him one of the top jazz guitarists of 2015 with Bill Frisell, John Scofield, and Julian Lage.


As leader

As sideman

With Vijay Iyer

With Myra Melford

With Jason Robinson

With Somi

With Henry Threadgill

With others

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  1. 1 2 3 Adler, David R. "Liberty Ellman". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  2. "Liberty Ellman | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2018.