The gifted, versatile saxophonist/clarinetist/composer John Ellis occupies an imaginary (and extremely imaginative) space directly between the celebratory, welcoming spirit of New Orleans and the edgy, frantic streets of New York City. Both as the leader of his own eclectic projects and as an in-demand sideman for a mind-boggling number and variety of artists, Ellis expresses keen intellect, easy virtuosity, and mischievous spirit. Ellis’ own projects include his eccentric urban carnival band Double-Wide, his quintet of A-list players, and a series of Jazz Gallery-commissioned narrative pieces with playwright Andy Bragen. The second-place winner of the 2002 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, the North Carolina native has established himself as one of New York’s premier tenor saxophonists, working with artists as diverse as John Patitucci, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charlie Hunter, and Sting. Ellis has released nine albums as a leader, while his discography lists more than 100 album credits as a sideman.