Ellwood Epps

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Template:BLP unreferenced Ellwood Epps (born 1976 in Toronto, Canada) is a Canadian trumpet player living in Montreal. He began playing the trumpet at age 11, and was introduced to jazz music and improvisation at Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, where his first trumpet teachers were Mary Anne Fratia and Jim Lewis. He continued his musical studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Toronto, York University, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. His principal trumpet teacher was Laurie Frink, to whose New York studio he traveled for private lessons over a ten-year period. His other primary teachers are David Mott and Bill Dixon.

Epps' first performances in Toronto were with the Woodchoppers Association, a large improvising orchestra led by drummer Dave Clark. Later he led the Free Work Band, a trio and sometimes quartet which played his early compositions, and was a memeber of the David Mott Quintet. During his time in Toronto, Epps was also active as a poet, publishing a magazine and hosting the Poetry On The Roof reading series at his Parliament Street loft. His involvement with the city's small press community informed his initial efforts in self-releasing his own recordings, and provided a self-actuated model for the presentation and distribution of his music.

He moved to Montreal in 2005, and quickly became active playing with John Heward’s Murray Street Band, Nicolas Caloia's Ratchet Orchestra, and with Michel F. Côté, Jean Derome, and Josh Zubot. He also became active as a concert presenter, beginining with the Improvising Montreal series at Casa del Popolo. In 2008 Epps co-founded l’Envers, a performance space located on Ave. Van Horne. l’Envers continued as a performance space for 4 years before closing; it continues to the present as a presenter of concerts and as a creative partner in the Festival of New Trumpet Music Canada, which Epps and Aaron Shragge co-founded in 2013. Also in 2008, Epps was one of four musicians who founded Mardi Spaghetti, a series of improvised music nights hosted at le Cagibi and still running as of 2015.

His trumpet style is sonicly broad, making extensive use of mutes, and has been compared to that of Rex Stewart and Bill Dixon. Epps has a pronounced melodic tendency, balanced by his use of circular breathing and multiphonics, techniques which he has stated come primarily from the music of David Mott. Since the release of his first recording, he has rarely presented written compositions, preferring to work in improvised settings and interpreting the work of his peers.

Within the field of improvising trumpeters, he is unusual in his eschewal of electronics, never having used effects pedals or laptop in performances or recordings.

Epps is also active as director and principal teacher at the Studio d’Improvisation de Montreal, an ongoing series of workshops on improvised music, and has been active as a private trumpet teacher since his teenage years.

He has also worked in radio, hosting the weekly Full Circle on Toronto's CKUT FM, and as an occasional host at CKUT in Montreal. In addition to ongoing work with musicians in Montreal, Epps has performed with American and European musicians including William Parker, Butch Morris, John Butcher, Marshall Allen, Henry Grimes, Xavier Charles, Wilbert DeJoode, Eugene Chadbourne, and Axel Doerner.