Raydar Ellis is a “Jack of all trades, master of many” in a musical landscape that embraces diversity. Whether he is producing, spinning party-goers into a frenzy, rapping, influencing students, or contributing as a key component to Revive Music Group, Ellis has made tremendous strides to cement his place as a major player on several fronts in the music scene.
Ellis has spent the better part of his career thus far as a sideman in the NYC jazz community, setting up his turntables alongside upright basses and horn sections and triggering samples and loops as a member of many live outfits. As a core member of the Revive Big Band (directed by Igmar Thomas), Raydar’s commitment to the principle instruments of Hip Hop (Turntables and Samplers) has helped shift the perception of what was possible with the devices and cemented credibility with institutions who otherwise wouldn’t know or care. Some of these musical excursions have found their way to prestigious venues like The Kennedy Center and The MoMA and to recordings like Esperanza Spalding’s “Radio Music Society”, and Revive Music/Blue Note’s “Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1”.
Adding even more heft to his already solid performance history, Ellis has shared the stage with internationally known artists including: Robert Glasper, Pharoahe Monch, Bilal, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Meshell Ndegeocello, Marc Cary, Marcus Strickland, Ben Williams, Fred Wesley, & Anna Wise/Sonnymoon.
When factoring in the schedule he keeps as an Emcee/Producer/DJ, it’s quite impressive that Ellis also invests a substantial amount of time into being an educator. As an Assistant Professor, he remains fully dedicated to the students he teaches at Berklee College of Music, commuting to Boston at the start of each week to teach classes rooted in Hip Hop like songwriting, beatmaking, and the first ever J Dilla Ensemble, a curriculum he was tapped to create and share. In addition to his course load, Raydar has also been invited to The Grammy Museum & MIT as a guest lecturer, The New School as adjunct professor, and to Harvard to contribute to their Hip Hop Archives series.