Composer/pianist Ezra Weiss was born on January 16, 1979, in Phoenix, Arizona. There, he was active in theater, both as an actor and a musical director. He was also involved in band programs, and studied piano with Larry Loeber. After graduating from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ezra moved to Ohio to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
At Oberlin, Ezra studied composition with Wendell Logan and piano with Neal Creque. During his senior year, Ezra formed the jazz sextet Blues Connotation. In 2001, he received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition and moved to Portland, Oregon.
In Portland, Ezra continued to lead Blues Connotation, which later became the Ezra Weiss Sextet. Ezra also began teaching at the Beaverton Arts and Communication Magnet Academy, Self Enhancement Inc., the Western Oregon University Jazz Camp, and the Northwest Childrens Theater, where he musical directed numerous productions as well.
In 2002, Ezra flew to New York City for a week to record his debut CD, The Five A.M. Strut. Released a year later on the Umoja label, the CD features Michael Philip Mossman, Antonio Hart, Kelly Roberge, Leon Lee Dorsey, and Billy Hart. The Five A.M. Strut received great attention from the press and spent time on both the JazzWeek and CMJ radio charts. Ezra's subsequent recordings included Persephone (2005 Umoja) and Get Happy (2007 Roark Records). Again, both albums received excellent reviews and radio airplay.
Ezra has composed and/or arranged music for Billy Hart, Thara Memory, Rob Scheps Big Band, Leon Lee Dorsey, Stan Bock, and Renato Caranto, among others. He has also performed with many great musicians including Greg Bandy, Michael Philip Mossman, Antonio Hart, Thara Memory, Rob Scheps, Renato Caranto, and Dennis Rowland. He also co-led the Courtney Bryan/Ezra Weiss Jazz Orchestra in New York. Additionally, Ezra won the 2002, 2006, and 2007 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award.
Ezra has led bands in many of the U.S.'s greatest clubs, including Dizzys Club Coca-Cola, Smalls, and Tonic in New York City; Ryles in Boston; Nighttown in Cleveland; Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia; The Triple Door in Seattle; Jimmy Maks in Portland; and Catalinas in Los Angeles.
In 2004, Ezra moved to New York City to pursue a Masters in Jazz Piano at Queens College. There, he studied piano with Bruce Barth and Ted Rosenthal. After graduating, he taught for a year at Scottsdale Community College. Ezra currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches at the Northwest Childrens Theater and at Portland State University.
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