Review in Expose magazine: John Ehlis Ensemble 'San Carlos' Sívac Records 1002 Ostensibly this is a jazz recording, although doused with enough challenge and uniqueness to give it a far wider appeal, reaching into world-ethnic realms and acoustic territory reminiscent of the best ECM and Windham Hill releases, even incorporating some elemental influences from country and folk. John Ehlis is a guitarist, playing acoustic and electric, but also ocarina, mbira, and percussion. His brother Chuck (who passed away after the recording but prior to the release the disc is dedicated to his memory) contributes electric bass, slide guitar, and a home-made instrument called the 'thwackoleum' made from materials found at flea markets, garage sales and hardware stores. The other members of the greater 'ensemble' (9 persons in all, although all of the tracks feature smaller subsets of the larger group) contribute additional guitars, woodwinds, brass, percussion, miscellaneous ethnic instruments and female voice, the latter by Denise Fraga who does an outstanding part in the group improvisation pieces. The material here is a mix of composed and improvised material, achieving just the right balance between the two throughout the ten tracks, which cover approximately 50 minutes. It should also be mentioned that the recording and production are nothing short of superb, with attention given to detail and clarity no instrument ever gets buried in the mix, keeping the sound energized and vibrant from beginning to end. Fans of world-acoustic or ethnic jazz, or Jade Warrior circa Waves should definitely give this one a listen. -Peter Thelen, Expose More Press about the John Ehlis Ensemble: 'Owing as much to various world music traditions as to jazz, Ehlis's typically ruminating and occasionally explosive music is an original global fusion, steeped in the multikulti aesthetic of late trumpeter Don Cherry.' -Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian '...(Ehlis) is superbly supported by fellow axman Lofton and the underrated Tchicai, all of whom together form an odd ensemble very reminiscent of Henry Threadgill's.' -Dave Mc Elfresh, California Jazz Now 'The spacy yet intense rapport of the ensemble is exemplary as is their interplay during Ehlis's 'Yes I Know' ...' -David Lewis, Cadence 'The John Ehlis Ensemble is an atypical set of musicians who have embraced at least three distinctly different jazz motifs without conflicting the results' -Jeff Melton, Expose ARTIST BIO Guitarist John Ehlis is inspired by traditional music from around the world including Brazil, Cuba, India, Mali, South Africa and the Basque region of Spain and France. He rechannels the influences of these musically vast cultures into a unique sound that incorporates chanting, lyrical melodies, ambient sounds and collective improvisations. He also includes the sounds of mandolin, bamboo flutes, mbira and hand percussion into his performances. Ehlis studied music under the direction of Grant Wolf at Mesa Community College and completed his formal music education at UC Riverside in 1989. He has performed throughout the United States for the past 20 years with musicians that include John Tchicai, Francis Wong, Jon Birdsong, Marie Afonso, Ken Butler, Joe Craven, Beth Custer, Tony Passerell, Rent Romus, Tapia and Leturia, the Gauden Bat Basque Dancers and Euskal Giroa. The John Ehlis Ensemble has two releases on his indie label Sívac Records. He has also led the improvisational ensembles Beautiful Cuba and Francis the First. John Ehlis currently resides in New York City where he is collaborating with saxophonist Allen Won and percussionist Todd Isler in the Wu Wei Trio.