Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
Ellipsis was born in an unmemorable suburban pub in the summer of 2005, when pianist John Stenger and bassist Ray Clemens unwound after a gig and discovered a common interest in developing a new approach to the jazz music they were playing. They soon brought in drummer Justin Leigh and formed some common goals: to play contemporary pop and rock music as a vehicle for improvisation, to write original music that could appeal to fans of both jazz and rock music, and to include in their repertoire new arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz compositions -- but above all, to play music that a younger audience could relate to.
After recording an EP, Ray and John booked and played a three-week cross-country tour. The first Ellipsis gig was in Lexington, Kentucky, and the first trio gig was in November of that year in Washington, DC. Over the next two years, all three band members contributed original compositions and collectively developed arrangements of songs by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Nick Drake, Coldplay, John Lennon, Herbie Hancock, Bjork, Joshua Redman and others. The trio also became the rhythm section for downtempo vocalist Natalie Walker and Philadelphia legend Tommy Conwell. The culmination of the group's efforts was the complete performance of the albums Kid A and Abbey Road.
The group split up after the Beatles show and Ray moved to Seattle. After more than a year, Justin and John were approached by Tritone to perform a monthly series of album covers, and a new collective version of Ellipsis was born with a rotating cast of musicians that changes with each show.
In October of 2009, Ellipsis released a full length album featuring the original compositions of Justin and John, as well as some of the most creative musicians in Philadelphia: guitarist Matt Davis, saxophonist Jon Thompson, and bassist Jason Fraticelli.