bio

Edward Ratliff is a New York City-based composer, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, cornet, trombone, euphonium and accordion). He has been called “a wonderfully spunky and imperturbable trumpet player” (The New York Times) and “a fine musician who possesses a clever and crafty compositional pen” (AllAboutJazz.com).


Edward Ratliff + Five Agents in Mondsee, Austria
(Marlene Rice, Michael Attias, Sean Conly, Edward Ratliff
and Yousif Sheronick)
photo © anja hitzenberger
The music he makes is inspired by a wide range of sources, including kung fu movies, jazz, boleros, cha cha and tango, the golden age of Hollywood, 18th-century Bohemian wind music, ambient grooves, Vietnamese pop music and free improvisation.

He has received numerous commissions and grants for dance and theater scores, including a commission from the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program and several Meet the Composer Fund grants. He was an associate artist-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, working for three weeks with composer and saxophonist Henry Threadgill, and received an Honorable Mention in the Jazz Composers Alliance/Julius Hemphill Composition Awards. Originally from Texas, he lives in New York City where he studied music at the Mannes College of Music and film at the New School.

Ratliff and his bands have appeared at international festivals including the JVC Jazz Festival New York, MODAFE (Seoul, Korea), Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival (New York), ImPulsTanz (Vienna), SommerSzene Salzburg (Austria), the Improvisation Festival/NY, Knitting Factory “What is Jazz?” Festival, and at theaters, clubs and other venues throughout New York City, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Whitney Museum, Dance Theater Workshop, Barbès, Performance Space 122 and Dancing in the Street's “Dances at Wave Hill.” His music has also been heard in a wide variety of television programs presented on HBO, Nickelodeon, the Discovery Channel, ABC Family, MTV, VH1 and more — everything from a biography of Dostoyevsky to Real Sex Xtra.

His music is represented on several CDs: A new CD, Those Moments Before, a disc of cinematic small-ensemble music, was released in the fall of 2009 ("Whether it's a tribute to Hong Kong Action films or the sound of Johnny Hodges, "Those Moments Before" is a very satisfying and entertaining show...." AllAboutJazz.com). The Guardian (London) called his film score for Barcelona in 48 Hours “an intriguing tone poem that repays repeated listening.” His debut recording, Wong Fei-Hong Meets Little Strudel, a tribute to the Hong Kong film industry, was called “a great disc” by Cadence magazine. His music can also be heard on a Knitting Factory Works disc, “Peep; The Joy of Being” (“skewed instrumental magic” CMJ). His recordings are available at the strudelmedia store and Amazon.com.

With photographer Anja Hitzenberger, he co-directed and composed the score for the short film Barcelona in 48 Hours, an impressionistic portrait of the choreographer and dancer David Zambrano. The film has been shown in over 20 festivals across Europe, Latin America, Asia and the United States. A multimedia performance version of the film was commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop and premiered there in New York City, and was subsequently presented at festivals in Vienna and Seoul.