A versatile musician that can provide everything from contemporary jazz and bluegrass improvisation to sight read orchestral parts.
I'm a New York City based violinist with 17 years of extensive training in jazz, bluegrass, and classical music. I'm a Berklee alumni, and can sightread, learn parts by ear quickly and improvise over changes. While I am mostly hired for jazz and contemporary bluegrass sessions, I can also help you out if you need strings for a pop, world music or classical project! Anything goes.
I play regularly throughout the city with various jazz and folk ensembles, and most notably have recent experience with television recording work as part of the house band on NBC's "Maya and Marty" in the summer of 2016. I've also had experience with commercial jingle recording as well as a number of orchestral projects on both four and five string violin (doubling as a quasi-viola).
Some of my more notable past live performances have included BB Kings as part of the prestigious Blue Note Jazz Fest, The French Consulate of New York, and opening with pop orchestra "Little Kruta" for The 2017 Ruff Riders Reunion tour. I'm also currently working with a bluegrass band that has a weekly residency at The Grand Ole Opry's first sister venue in midtown, Manhattan.
Should you be interested in hiring me for sessions or live performance, please send me a message and I will get back to you within 24 hours!
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Ellie Goodman
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's not work, or that it's a side gig of some kind- this is a job like any other, just with... less insurance...
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: When is the session, how many hours/tracks, where, what genre, do you have lead sheets or demos, is it union, etc.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Feel free to ask me whatever questions you have, and be specific about what you want out of the project you're hiring me for.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Violin, tenor banjo, 3 bows. I'll carve a pick out of a coconut husk.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing for 17 years. I grew up playing Texas fiddle contests mostly- had a handful of small "gigs" including a brief stint on the Oklahoma Opry. I went to Berklee for a couple of years at 18 where I studied performance with a focus on jazz, then had an existential crisis that led me to move to New York at 20. I'm currently still in NYC at 27 and presently just continuing to work and play as much as I can- I would say I've had a very busy and varied career thus far.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I'm a pretty melodic and modal sort of improvisor by nature and my technique is very clean. I'm closer to Stuff Smith than Christian Howes in terms of jazz improv, and bluegrass-wise I tend towards the Aubrey Haynie/Stuart Duncan sound vs. something looser like Frank Fairfield (though I love Frank's music to death.)
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I've always wanted to play with either Dwight Yoakam, or Ricky Skaggs.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Less is more- let the instrument's natural tone be what it is. Don't rely on artificial effects and gadgets to do what you can probably accomplish acoustically. Also, I'm no sound engineer but I run into many (mostly venues and not studio guys) that will often try to load up on reverb and highs that turn a nice violin into a tinny cavernous mess through a PA... for the love of god, please stop. Dry it out, warm it up.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Jazz is my most common at the moment, but I grew up playing bluegrass and my gigs are currently around half and half. I'm in the midst of working on a personal recording project so there will be more of my bluegrass playing out in the world in 2018.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My ear for picking up new material I haven't heard before and being able to play over it. I learn very quickly when it comes to listening and muscle memory- much more quickly than sight reading notes on a page, though I can do either.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A good string part can really add a lot of colour and dimension to something. I consider myself reliable at being able to gauge what each track might need in improvisational contexts. What I do is there to complement and accent everything around it as much as it's there to be looked at individually.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Stuart Duncan has always been a role model for me as someone that aspires to be a solid musician and performer both in and out of the studio.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of my work comes from live performance, teaching and sessions.