Chad EbySaxophonist • Arranger • Educator

About Chad Eby

A Newhall, Iowa native, Chad Eby is a life-long student of music. Born in 1973, he began playing clarinet at the age of 11 and began studying the saxophone a year later. He went on to study music at Luther College, completing his degree in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas, then earning his master’s degree in Saxophone Performance from Ohio State University. While in Ohio he released his first album, "Triptych" (2001), gaining critical acclaim from and fellow saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Wessel Anderson. His second album," Broken Shadows", was released in February of 2010, featuring Steve Haines, Jason Marsalis, Doug Wamble, and Branford Marsalis. "New Business" followed in 2012, centered around a suite of original compositions based on the visual art of Trenton Doyle Hancock. His newest release, "The Sweet Shel Suite: Music Inspired by Shel Silverstein", received a four star rating from DownBeat magazine, and features his working quartet with trumpeter Brandon Lee, bassist Steve Haines, and drummer Daniel Faust.

“I credit a lot of my successes to my small-town Iowa upbringing, and the unfailing support of my family. My parents gave me every opportunity to excel, driving me to an endless stream of lessons and rehearsals, sometimes in the depths of an Iowa winter. I’d be nowhere without their selfless sacrifices.” - C.E.

As a saxophonist and composer Chad has earned widespread critical acclaim as “a consummate improviser“ (Jazz Times), who “has tremendous poise and natural melodic sense“ (Ottawa Sun), and whose “tone is boundless, blues-inflected, and wholly satisfying“ ( Downbeat Magazine gave his newest release, “The Sweet Shel Suite," a coveted four-star rating saying, “Even at its most whimsical and breathless, The Sweet Shel Suite never ceases to be tuneful. Even if you’ve never read Silverstein’s poetry, there’s plenty of inspired composition here to sink your teeth into.”

“There’s really nothing more consistently inspiring than studying music. No matter how much progress you make, there’s still so far to go and so much you haven’t heard. For instance, I didn’t really hear Chu Berry until I was almost 40 years old, and then he knocked me off my feet, 70ish years after his death. When you couple that with the incredible music being made by my chronological saxophone peers like John Ellis, Stephen Riley, and JD Allen, I’ll NEVER run out of ways to improve!” – C.E.

“I’ve always gathered inspiration from extra-musical sources, whether it’s the movies of Stanley Kubrick, the visual art of Diana al-Hadid, my beloved Marvel Comics, the scenery of rural Iowa, my beautiful family...really, anything goes. The Shel Silverstein-inspired works were born of years of nightly reading of those beautiful, silly, and not-so-slyly allegorical poems.” – C.E.

A highly sought-after arranger, Chad’s professionally commissioned works have been performed or recorded by Bill Charlap with Kurt Elling, Wynton Marsalis with Willie Nelson and Norah Jones, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, the L.A. All-Star Big Band, and his own group, the Piedmont Triad Jazz Orchestra. To date, he has arranged over 125 works for big band, small jazz combos, and chamber groups. As well, he is credited with over 50 original compositions, and has won jazz composer awards from the Ohio Arts Council (2004) and the North Carolina Arts Council (2009).

“I’ve been very blessed through the years to get to write with and for many of my heroes. I’ve studied arranging and composition with the same discipline and diligence that I’ve studied playing, and after all these years and all these works, it’s STILL a challenge every time. I embrace it, though, because every finished work represents the fruits of dozens of hours of betterment for myself. You can’t beat that.” – C.E.

Since 2006, Chad has taught in the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program at UNC-Greensboro, where he directs Jazz Ensemble I, teaches Jazz History and applied jazz lessons, and co-leads the Spartan Jazz Collective, a septet made up of faculty and a rotating cast of students. In 2015, he was honored with the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s Outstanding Teaching Award.

“I think that ‘jazz education’ is at its most effective when it is organic and in real time. When you think about how the greatest purveyors of the art form learned, it was on the bandstand, with an older or more advanced bandleader (think Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, King Oliver) teaching by example – doing the same dirty work that the sidemen (Armstrong, Coltrane, Hancock, Evans, Shorter, Hubbard, etc...) were doing. It happened in real time, and you had no choice but to listen and follow. That’s the core of what we do at UNCG. There’s a time and place for the chalkboard, but then it’s time to shut up and play.” – C.E.

Eby is a D'Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist, a Conn-Selmer Endorsing Artist, a clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington program, and has been a featured guest artist/clinician at universities across the country. He lives in Greensboro, NC with his wife Carmen, who is a professional clarinetist, and
their two children.

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