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You’re currently reading “ellen christi,” an entry on metropolis | jazz, free-jazz and improvised music
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- artist portraits
Since the mid-seventies, Ellen Christi has steadily gained ground as an important contributor to American improvised music and contemporary jazz. As a composer/vocalist, Ms. Christi has worked in varying performance venues ranging from multi-media theatrical productions to solo vocal concerts. She has also been an active advocate in supporting innovative performing artists through organizations that she has co-founded or directed.
Ms. Christi has studied piano technique, composition, and arranging with Jaki Byard, an internationally acclaimed pianist/composer and a professor at the New England Conservatory of Music. She had studied the bel canto technique with Galli Campi, a coloratura singer with the Metropolitan Opera. Earlier on in her career, she studied vocal technique and movement with Jeanne Lee, an avant-garde jazz vocalist. Presently, Ms. Christi working with vocal coach, Dr. Virgina Davidson, composer/conductor and founder of New York Treble Singers.
Ms. Christi was one of the co-founders of New York City Artists’ Collective, a non-profit organization committed to developing creative independence for artist and fostering appreciation of visual and performing arts through educational seminars, concert productions, and record documentation/ production (N.Y.C.A.C. Records) She is also the founder of Network Records, an independent record label promoting contemporary jazz music.
She has received numerous grants and commissions from the New York State Council of the Arts and Meet the Composer. As well as having received varied commissions for dance and theater performances throughout the years, her most recent commission has been funded through the prestigious Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. She is currently performing and teaching master classes in vocal technique/improvisation and movement throughout the United States and Europe.
Ms. Christi has been performing and recording with musicians in the United States and Europe for the past twenty five years. She has worked with; Tom Bruno, Ray Anderson, Mark Dresser, Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, Rashid Ali, Tony Scott, Ed Blackwell, William Parker, Lisa Sokolov, Jeanne Lee, Kenny Wheeler, Steve McCall, Rahn Burton, Roy Campbell, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, and Hans Koch.
For the past twelve years, she has been collaborating with Fiorenzo Sordini, Claudio Lodati, Carlo Actis Dato, and Enrico Fazio in Italy. In Switzerland, she has been performing and recording with Thomi Hirt and Pit Gutmann of the trio, Illustrio. Currently she is working with Joe Gallant’s Illuminati, a 22-piece ensemble, performing and producing concerts with her present performing ensemble, Aliens’ Talk. She is developing a world music project with Vincent Nguini of Cameroon. And the most recent recording project is with bassist, Habib Faye and balafonist, Babacar Konate of Senegal. A great portion of her time is spent working as a producer for Bliss Corporation, a dance music production company in Torino, Italy.
Ellen Christi on Percaso Productions
Christoph Gallio “à Gertrude Stein” percaso production CD 016
Christoph Gallio: soprano & altosax
Ellen Christi: voice
William Parker: bass
Rashied Ali: drums
Words by Gertrude Stein, Music by Christoph Gallio except 2,8,13,17 by Gallio / Christi / Parker / Ali. Recorded October 10 and 11, 1994, by Rick Rowe and Royston Langdon at Baby Monster Studios, New York Mixed and edited by Max Spielmann at Elephant château, Basel. Mastered by Glenn Miller at Greenwood Studio Nunningen. Cover Art: Claudio Moser
- Musicians Marilyn Crispell and Ellen Christi add fresh sounds to the male world of jazz. Jennifer Lawhorn
- Ellen Christi displays a wide load of stylistic jumbling, often changing voices several times…Her technique involves lots of jamming together of words and non-word events, and if you’re not a square, you can handle it. Byron Coley
- Cecil Taylor has been aware of Parker’s value for a decade…William Parker’s bass is one of the most unique voices in improvised music. Carl Baugher
- William Parker is simply one of the greatest bassists alive. He is a highly creative soloist and a master o free group interaction. His playing combines a total integration of dynamics, rhythm, and melody with an uncanny instinct for what is right for the composition or the soloist. Ed Hazell
- Rashied Ali is especially interested in immediated improvisation. He can let himself go and be continually inventive. Jackie McLean
- The key reason for the presence of Rashied Ali in the group is his contribution toward that totality of improvisation. You see, he’s laying down multidirectional rhythms all the time. To me he is definitely one of the great Drummers. John Coltrane
Selected Ellen Christi recording’s