When music transcends the notes, it connects our inner and our outer lives, and takes us to another place. It’s a place you’ll want to inhabit for a while, and Not This Room will get you there.
Not This Room - Released 2021
When music transcends the notes, it connects our inner and our outer lives, and takes us to another place. It’s a place you’ll want to inhabit for a while, and Not This Room will get you there. These nine songs combine the unique melodic artistry of composer and guitarist Roddy Ellias with unforgettable lyrics by Canadian writer Sandra Nicholls. Sung by Juno award- winning vocalist Kellyee Evans, with the help of eight other musicians, the songs are a stirring testament to the power of creativity in the face of isolation, a musical light from the darkest days of the pandemic, a jazz-infused message of hope.
Ellias is a composer whose work defies a simple definition, and his musical journey has taken him from his early roots in pop and R&B bands, to the improvised world of jazz, through African and other world beats all the way to the classical world, even writing an opera, and everything in between. The songs on this latest album move seamlessly through different moods and styles, echoing the shifting experience of the pandemic itself. From the simple folky power of Prayer to the hypnotic beat of The Street, from the haunting, melancholy lyricism of the title track, Not This Room, to the luminous harmonies of Draw Me a Circle, the songs on this album linger on long after you first hear them.
This is not his first collaboration with Nicholls, an award-winning poet and novelist, but they consider it their most important, with songs they hope will connect people in a time of profound disconnection. In addition to Ellias and Evans, the album features New York pianist Marc Copland, Juno-winner Petr Cancura, Richard Page, Pierre-Yves Martel, Guy Pelletier, Justin Orok, Chris Pond and Jose Garcia. It was recorded in the beautiful ambient setting of Mackay United Church in Ottawa.
Roddy Ellias - Acoustic Steel String Guitar
Kellylee Evans - Voice
Marc Copland - Piano
Justin Orok - Nylon String Guitar
Chris Pond - Bass
Jose Garcia - Percussion
Petr Cancura - Soprano & Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Mandolin
Guy Pelletier - Bass Flute, C Flute
Richard Page - Bass Clarinet
Pierre-Yves Martel - Viola da Gamba
Orange Grove Publicity
"Five stars ... Pieces like Ellias’s Folksong resonate with the attention to detail and level of feeling common on the best ECM recordings ... Sticks and Stones is an album that richly rewards close listening, and continues to reveal itself." - James Hale
Sticks and Stones - Released 2017
"But it’s Ellias’ living in multiple musical spheres that has turned him into the unique player and composer that he surely is, clearly comfortable within and at the more sophisticated edges of the jazz tradition, but also imbued with compositional concepts that extend beyond its furthest reaches." -John Kelman, All About Jazz
CBC - One of the 10 outstanding Canadian jazz albums of 2017
John Kelman - One of (10 of) the best releases (world-wide) of 2017
Ottawa Citizen - One of the 10 best Canadian jazz albums of 2017
"What all three musicians share is a thrill of the search for something authentic and real."
Trekan - Released 2016
"Roddy Ellias is one of Canada’s legendary jazz guitarists but is also well established in the New Music scene. Striving for beauty Roddy embodies these two worlds in his playing and composing..."
"...What all three musicians share is a thrill of the search for something authentic and real."
"Monday's Dream is an unapologetically beautiful record, one of subtle delicacy and elegance, and alluring grace and finesse."
-John Kelman, All About Jazz
"Roddy Ellias's new collection of 10 originals is a thing of beauty: evocative, bold, pretty, humorous, occasionally gritty, often challenging and always appealing." -Doug Fischer, Ottawa Citizen
"A work of pensive, folky beauty... four stars!" -Brad Farberman, DownBeat Magazine
"His creativity is so obvious, that it is at once both startling and inspiring..." -Steve Kinigstein, Just Jazz Guitar
Monday's Dream - Released 2014
Oasis - Released 1999
"Sleeping Rough is an inventive and poignant made-in-Ottawa success." - Peter Robb, Artsfile
"Ellias’s trademark syncretism of classical, jazz and non-Western musics, eloquently adapted to lyric storytelling, is here on full display." -Charles Geyer, La Scena Musicale
Sleeping Rough - Released 2018