New York-based saxophonist and composer Ethan Helm makes music that exists on the boundaries of familiarity in jazz and concert music, creating points of sound where diverse traditions become inseparable. His works push concrete elements of the jazz tradition to mysterious and surreal places, casting new light on swing, blues, and jazz expression to bring beautiful and overlooked details into relief.
Ethan is involved in a variety of musical communities, leading his own quartet and co-leading the jazz quintet “Cowboys & Frenchmen,” as well as a composing and arranging for jazz ensembles (Michael Sarian Big Band, Chris Misch-Bloxdorf Band), indie rock groups (Louis Weeks, Stranger in the Alps), and dance (Kathleen Helm, Francesca Lee). He was recently selected for the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, which concluded in a piece workshopped and performed by the American Composers Orchestra, under the guidance of mentors James Newton, Anthony Davis, and Gabriela Lena Frank. He was also a featured presenter at the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, performing his suite, “Paul Desmond’s Sound,” with the Texas Tech University Jazz Ensemble. Other performances include the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and throughout the United States and Canada with Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project and Brad Shepik’s Balkan Peppers. In 2015, Ethan released two full-length albums of original music: “The Spoon,” under his own name, and “Rodeo,” the debut album of Cowboys & Frenchmen on the Outside in Music label. Ethan grew up in a musical family in Southern California, and holds degrees from Eastman School of Music and New York University. http://www.ethanhelm.com/