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This profile was last updated on 11/2/12  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

36 Total References
Web References
John Ettinger | EttingerMusic | Press/Reviews
www.ettingermusic.com, 2 Nov 2012 [cached]
John Ettinger
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Despite releasing three acclaimed CDs over the past decade featuring some of jazz's most accomplished improvisers, John Ettinger is one of the East Bay's best kept musical secrets. The El Cerrito violinist gained a good deal of attention in 2006 with "Kissinger In Space," an album as strange, wondrous and amusing as its title. He's mostly been out of sight since the release of his last CD, 2008's beauteous "Inquatica" with Pete Forbes on drums, piano, and banjo, a multi-tracked improvisational duo session marked by his judicious use of space and a haunting version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust."
Ettinger presents a program of music drawn from his three albums for the first time Saturday at the Berkeley Art Festival space on University Avenue with a quintet featuring bassist Todd Sickafoose, drummer Lorca Hart, guitarist Jon Preuss and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby.
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"There just hasn't been time to do the phone work and booking," says Ettinger, who also performs with Preuss, Sickafoose and guitarist Myles Boisen in the Miniwatt String Quartet at San Francisco's Red Poppy Art House on Nov. 24.
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Ettinger grew up in Arizona and moved to the Bay Area in the early 1990s. Over the years he's played in chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestras, theatrical settings and free improv jazz. He gained the most visibility in the 1990s jazz/rock combo he led with Preuss, Hurlo Thrumbo, which occasionally shared the bill with T.J. Kirk, the popular three-guitar-and-drums quartet powered by Scott Amendola.
After playing several gigs with the Scott Amendola Band, Ettinger recruited Amendola, Sickafoose and pianist Art Hirahara, who all performed together in an exquisite trio, for his impressive debut album, 2003's "August Rain.
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"I tried not to pin it down stylistically," Ettinger says.
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"Free improvisation and modern composition are among the hallmarks of Kissinger In Space, John Ettinger's fine sophomore release. Ettinger, a San Francisco Bay Area violinist, shares the front line with the tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby in a piano-less quartet.
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Ettinger and Malaby complement one another in spite of the differences in the range and tembre of their instruments.
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Six of Ettinger's nine originals clock in at five minutes or under; the solos neither drift nor ramble.
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The quartet soon leaves the pocket behind, and Ettinger and Malaby blow their most intense solos of the session.
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"The combination of John Ettinger's violin and Tony malaby's tenor sax on Kissinger In Space is as beautiful as it is unusual.
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But Ettinger finds in the saxophonistt an exceptionally sensitive partner.
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The compositions are all by Ettinger, and they are all intriguing and diverse, swinging at times and at times finding free abstraction. But his "Harper Lee" is a good example of how he works.
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"...As Ettinger and Malaby spiral around one another you can hear each instrument borrowing qualities from its counterpart: it's particularly intriguing to hear Malaby shifting towards a light sound and edgeless, long-lined lyricism rarely heard in his work elsewhere.
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The freeboppish "Quaint" is one of the album's most exciting tracks, though it keeps circling back to a hushed, secretive core; the sadder-but-wiser lyricism of "Harper Lee" twists between dark and light, eliciting some of Ettinger's most rapt, flowing violin; while the rock and roll thrash of the title cut turns into a mysterious plunge into the cosmos."
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John Ettinger, a versatile violinist based in the San Francisco Bay area, has in the past played with rock and avant-garde groups so he has a very open style.
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Listening to John Ettinger's muscular and weighty Kissinger In Space, you wonder why. Most likely it's because the violin comes with a truckload of uncool conservatoire associations: ranks of penguin-suited automatons sitting cowed by the conductor's baton, and not a reefer in sight. (Only a few people today know Smith's 1936 recording 'Here Comes The Man With The Jive,' and most of them have short-term memory loss).
Whatever the reason, the violin's isolation is undeserved. Here, without fanfare or special treatment, it fits right into a high-grade piano-less quartet-displacing easily as much weight as tenor saxophone, bass or drums, and proclaiming Ettinger as a distinctive and top-drawer new voice in the music.
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Electronic manipulation is sparingly used (considerably less than on Ettinger's 2003 debut, August Rain), and the title track and Amendola's showcase 'The Doors Are Closing' aside, post-production supports rather than shapes events.
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By turns joyous and autumnal, pensive and funked up, lyrical and beat-driven, on the page and off it, all sometimes within the course of the same tune, Ettinger's music blends precisely arranged through-composition with unfettered collective improvisation. It's utterly distinctive stuff, and amongst its chief joys is the remarkable symbiosis between Ettinger and Malaby, whose close sonic fit and dual-drive improvised lines are the disc's dominant presence.
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"John Ettinger starts off the show with his free-jazz exploration "Dual Diagnosis" from his latest disc Kissinger In Space. In all honesty, I don't believe I've heard anyone play the violin like John does here - his playing is raw and wild, totally abandoning the "sweetness" of tone that marks Stephane Grappelli's playing for example.
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And so with that selfish mindset a given, John Ettinger just scored a whole heap of points this evening.
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The secret in this case is John Ettinger, violinist and looper and effects man, sharing the stage with electric piano, bass, and drums. He has a way of popping in and out at opportune times to build a melody out of a groove, establish a specific mood, or carry on a burst of lyricism.
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You don't often bump into this sort of thing, which makes it all the better when it's unexpected. (There's a whole lot of bad unexpected music in the world, trust me.) So score twenty for John Ettinger and his team.
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© 2014 John Ettinger. All Rights Reserved. Powered by HostBaby.
Kissinger In Space - Press Release
www.ettingermusic.com, 21 May 2006 [cached]
John Ettinger - violin, violin loops-treatment
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San Francisco jazz violinist John Ettinger releases superb sophomore CD, Kissinger In Space, featuring an all-star quartet of tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Devin Hoff, drummer Scott Amendola
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Meet San Francisco Bay Area violinist John Ettinger, who, based on his debut CD, 2003's August Rain, and his superb new sophomore effort, Kissinger in Space, promises to be a key player to further explore the instrument's sonic depth.
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As for the leader, the review noted: "The secret in this case is John Ettinger, violinist and looper/effects man.[who] has a way of popping in and out at opportune times to build a melody out of a groove, establish a specific mood, or carry on a burst of lyricism.
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What's particularly noteworthy is the sonic kinship of the violin and tenor sax as Ettinger and Malaby play unison lines and sublime harmonies as well as converse and echo.
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"We became friends, had a few other classes together, played on each other's senior recitals and then went different ways and to different coasts," says Ettinger. Despite the miles, the two kept in touch. Last December when Malaby was in the Bay Area playing with bassist Charlie Haden, Ettinger enlisted the tenor saxist to guest on the current project that was originally conceived as a trio date.
Inquatica - Press Release
www.ettingermusic.com, 14 Oct 2008 [cached]
John Ettinger - acoustic violin, violin-sourced loops, bass, acoustic and electric piano
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Having solidified his jazz presence with two superb CDs as a leader-2003’s August Rain and 2006’s Kissinger in Space-San Francisco Bay Area violinist John Ettinger continues his adventurous jazz trek with Inquatica, an eclectic 12-track collection of alchemic duo performances with drummer/songwriter/engineer/producer Pete Forbes.
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"This is music that is attempting to tell a story within each piece, and as a collection of pieces," says Ettinger. "A lot of this is pretty quiet and slow. Much of it is unjazz-like, although 99 percent of it is improvised. It was inspired in part by film composer Gustavo Santaolalla’s work on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s films like 21 Grams and Babel. This recording is also inspired by the nonlinear narrative of those films."
With these compositional concepts and with "an unbridled violin loop project in the back of my mind," Ettinger sought a co-conspirator.
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I played on Pete’s first album, we’ve been in a couple live bands, and we keep in touch and watch for opportunities to work together," Ettinger says.
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Inquatica comes off as a tour de force of sound sculpting where Ettinger and Forbes develop loops of material that function as departure points, main themes, counterpoint, drones, sound collages, and all points between.
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Ettinger plays acoustic violin, violin-induced loops, bass on one track, acoustic piano on two pieces and adds electric piano into two others.
While on his last release, Kissinger in Space, Ettinger opted to scale back on the loop-making he premiered in August Rain so that he could focus more on his violin playing, on Inquatica he deliberately set out to make full use of loops. "One usual method for me, a fairly common one I’m sure, is to record anywhere from three to 20 seconds into a looping pedal, build it up till it seems musically strong enough to bear repetition," he explains.
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In that process of interaction with the loops, Ettinger and Forbes overdubbed improvised responses.
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"Most of the overdubs were done with minimum discussion and first takes were honored," says Ettinger, noting that "these loops/textures/rhythms were not conceived as static background material. They were thought of as equal with any other part, particularly on tracks like "Dancing With The Other Side" and "Inquatica" where the loop is very much like another player, moving and changing as we go through the track."
As for the CD’s title, Ettinger decided to name it after the track "Inquatica," a gem of a piece that got its title from his 4-year-old daughter’s made-up word. She told him, "Inquatica means when two things like people or animals don’t speak the same words but can still talk to each other. They’re inquatical."
Ettinger says that seems to sum up the collaboration he and Forbes experienced. "This was different from anything that we had ever done before in either of our musical worlds," he says.
John Ettinger - Recordings - Inquatica
www.ettingermusic.com, 21 May 2006 [cached]
JOHN ETTINGER - INQUATICA
John Ettinger - acoustic violin, violin-sourced loops, bass on track 4, acoustic piano on tracks 1 and 4, electric piano on tracks 8 and 9
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Produced by John Ettinger, co-produced by Forbes.
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All music improvised/composed by John Ettinger and Pete Forbes except Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael/Songs of Peers, Ltd., and Just Like Tomorrow and Film, by John Ettinger.
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All music improvised/composed by John Ettinger and Pete Forbes except Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael/Songs of Peers, Ltd., and Just Like Tomorrow and Film, by John Ettinger.
3, First Friday: Odd Man Out ...
jazzinaz.org, 1 Jan 2014 [cached]
3, First Friday: Odd Man Out with violinist John Ettinger (Ettinger-violin, Mike Ozuna-guitar, Ted Sistrunk-bass, Jacob Eary-drums), 7:30-10 pm Fri., free, No BYOB, The Nash, 110 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix 85004, thenash.org, 602-795-0464.
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