Ezra Weiss

Amazing Life


I’m thrilled to share with you this new EP I have coming out with bassist Jon Shaw and drummer Tim DuRoche this Friday, September 30 on PJCE Records. It’s called Amazing Life, and it started when phenomenal Tim told me he had a dream that we made a record that sounded like Marilyn Crispell’s Amaryllis with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian.  My mom and dad have always imparted in me the idea that dreams are really important, so I took Tim’s dream seriously.  And I guess I was also looking for an excuse to play music with some friends during these pandemic times.  So I booked us a few hours to record in Paris Butler’s affordable and comfortable studio with our mutual friend and beautiful bassist Jon Shaw.  I wasn’t really expecting an album to come from it, it was just a chance to have some musical communion with a couple of old friends.  In hindsight, I think the lack of expectations around the session really led to the organic vibe of the music that came from it. 

Anyway, this is a really beautiful EP.  We recorded songs composed by some fantastic Pordlanders: Reece Marshburn and Marianna Thielen (aka The Bylines), and Joe Cunningham and Reed Wallsmith (of The Blue Cranes).  Plus one of my originals.  Katsuhiko Naito mixed and mastered.  You can pre-save and pre-order it here:




photo by Douglas Detrick

We celebrate the release of Amazing Life with a concert at The Old Church in Portland on October 4.  The concert will feature an unusual triple bill: The Bylines, Joe Cunningham/Reed Wallsmith Duo, and then our trio of Jon Shaw, Tim DuRoche, and me.  The concert is produced by the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble with generous support from the Holler Fund.

One thing – I’m so sorry it’s on the eve of Yom Kippur. We booked everyone and everything before we caught it, and it was too late. Usually it’s automatically in my calendar, and for some reason it wasn’t this year. Anyway, I’m really sorry to my friends who observe the holiday, and I hope we’ll have some more opportunities to catch you in the future.

Tickets here!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read about all these happenings and for supporting the music. Sending out love and peace to you all.


Sammi – Silver

So last summer, I got a call from my old friend/amazing singer Jeff Baker.  He said he was producing an album for a young singer/songwriter named Sammi, and asked if I would write string arrangements for it.  I figured sure, I could probably knock it out pretty quick, and could use a little extra cash.
Then I heard the demos.  My God, these songs by this 19 year-old were incredible.  Her singing and guitar playing were gorgeous.  Ostensibly, this music fell outside my usual genres.  But in reality, I think Sammi’s music and mine fall in the same category: Sharing Your Heart with All the Honesty You Can Muster.  (If only that were a section in the record store!)
Suffice it to say I felt really honored to be a part of this beautiful album, called Silver, which drops today.  While I’m proud of my string arrangements – and it’s great hearing them beautifully recorded under the musical direction of David Sabee – the real reason I’m telling you all this is because it’s a great record.  I know how the music industry can “toss about your latest golden egg,” and I would like to see Sammi (whom I’ve never met) get the attention and recognition she deserves.
Plus I think you’ll love this album.  I still can’t make it through the last song without crying.  Check it out here.

Is Everybody Here?

Dear Friends,
I’ve been scared to say anything about this because it seemed so huge that it’s been hard to imagine it actually coming together as a reality. But about a month ago, I got an idea and sent a message to my friends, saying something like, “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” And that is how Is Everybody Here? was born.

Set in a Zoom call, Is Everybody Here? is a collaborative effort of more than 30 creators illustrating the current moment of COVID-19 in a 40-minute musical revue. The show premieres Friday, May 22 at 7pm PT / 10pm ET on my Facebook page. We will follow it immediately with an online Zoom Q&A Cast Party as well.

Ranging from the awkward comedy of online business meetings to the tension of a doctor self-isolating from their family, the songs’ styles range from jazz and contemporary musical theater to alternative rock and opera. The collaboration includes composers Darrell Grant, Seth Fruiterman, and myself; lyricists Amy Punt (LA), James W. Moore, Jeff Sanders, and S. Renee Mitchell; theater artists Susannah Mars, Isaac Lamb, Thos Shipley (NYC), Sarah Jane Hardy, Elizabeth Gibbs, John Ellingson, and The Bylines; vocalists Marilyn Keller, Jimmie Herrod, Jeff Baker, Jamey Hood (LA), and Brian Smith Walters (London); indie musicians Paul Paresa, Laryssa Birdseye, and Rebecca Sanborn; and video editors Emma Sanders and Jacque Rabie (LA). All of these amazing artists are donating their creativity, artistry, energy, time, and heart to make this spectacular event happen.

People moved by our show are encouraged to make a donation to Artist Relief Tree if they are able. Artist Relief Tree is an artist-run relief fund to help artists impacted by cancellations related to COVID-19. I am also thrilled that Is Everybody Here? will be presented in partnership with the Vanport Mosaic 2020 Virtual Festival.

All of us are doing this because we want to say something about this moment. And we want to make a connection with people. I hope you’ll please join us and be a part of it.

Thanks for reading this and supporting the arts, and I hope you’re all hanging in okay during these crazy times.


Sending Love

Hi Friends,

Right now is an overwhelming time to write a news update. It’s hard to find the right words. No words can possibly rise to the scope of this moment, so I’ll just aim to be concise.

The thing I most want to say is that I hope you are taking care of yourself, and that we all are looking out for each other as best we can.

There are a couple other things to let you know about, too.

I want to let you know that when all of this is over and we can all go out and hear live music again, my sextet is planning to resume our monthly residency at the 1905.  We want this place to still be here when that happens, so if you’re able, please send some support to their GoFundMe.

Also, for those of you who lead big bands, I have a new sheet music page on here where you can purchase some of my big band charts.  Please check it out, as I’d be thrilled to have you play my music.

Sending love to you all,


Ezra Weiss Sextet Reunites for Residency at The 1905

Portland, OR — Composer/Pianist Ezra Weiss’s sextet takes up residence at Portland’s The 1905 (830 N Shaver St. ) on the third Saturday of the month beginning February 15, 2020. The two-set 9 pm–midnight shows will explore Weiss’s new repertoire on themes of empowerment and combine the group’s contemporary take on Art Blakey’s sound with such disparate influences as Kate Bush and Matilda the Musical.

The Ezra Weiss Sextet is Farnell Newton on trumpet, John Nastos on alto saxophone, Devin Phillips on tenor saxophone, Ezra Weiss on piano, Eric Gruber on bass, and Christopher Brown on drums. The cover charge is $10 at the door, reservations are encouraged.

“A more dynamic and incisive group of musicians would be hard to find,” writes Scott Albin of JazzTimes.

Ezra Weiss’ debut big band album We Limit Not the Truth of God, available August 16, 2019.

Featuring a brilliant 17-piece big band that includes such distinctive soloists as saxophonists John Nastos, Rob Davis, Renato Caranto and Mieke Bruggeman; trumpeters Farnell Newton, Derek Sims and Thomas Barber; trombonists Stan Bock and Jeff Uusitalo; and flutist John Savage, the album was recorded live in the resonant Alberta Abbey, a historic church turned performance space in Weiss’ hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Weiss tries to make sense of a divided world on this stirring and impassioned suite addressed to his young children. It’s a heartbreakingly confessional work that’s both a loving message passed down from father to children as well as a profound and deeply felt plea for togetherness and empathy.


I had the pleasure of scoring “Marjorie,” a film by Kalimah Abioto from the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble’s suite From Maxville to Vanport. Check it out!

The New CD Is Here!

My sextet’s new CD, Before You Know It [Live in Portland], just came out!  I’m so proud of this album, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 12.24.40 PM

It features Farnell Newton, John Nastos, Devin Phillips, Jon Shaw, and Christopher Brown.  We recorded it after a year of steady live performances, and the beautiful recording by Rick Gordon and mixing by Katsuhiko Naito captures the energy of those concerts.

I would be very honored for you to check it out. Here’s a video preview:

You can buy the album at: CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

I hope you like it.  Thank you all so much for supporting the music!

New Sextet, Article, CD

Thanks for checking out my website!

Lots of new things going on…

My new sextet has begun a steady monthly residency at Ivories Jazz Lounge in Portland, Oregon.  The new band includes Farnell Newton (trumpet), John Nastos (alto), Devin Phillips (tenor), Jon Shaw (bass), and Chris Brown (drums). These guys are killing!

I also wrote an article for JazzEd Magazine about helping students find their voice as a composer.  Please check it out – I hope it proves useful.

And the new CD is doing great – Our Path To This Moment has been getting lots of excellent reviews, and has spent the past 7 weeks on the JazzWeek radio charts!  Huge thank you to all of the musicians and artists who helped create the CD, all of the Kickstarter backers who made it possible, and all of the jazz writers and radio programmers who are getting the word out and helping this music get heard!  I feel extremely honored.

Thank you!

It’s Here!

Check out the video preview:

Dear Friends and Music-Lovers,

I am so excited to announce the release of my new CD, Our Path To This Moment.  The album features my big band compositions performed by amazing trumpeter Greg Gisbert and the Rob Scheps Big Band.  It is the final fruition of enormous generosity from many Kickstarter backers and the hard work of many incredible musicians and recording personnel.  I am so proud of this CD, and so happy to finally be able to share it with you.

Please check it out at the recordings page to hear more song samples and purchase.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to check out the new CD and for supporting this music.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

With gratitude,

Photography by Vanished Twin
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