Ethan Philion is an award-winning bassist, composer, and bandleader based in Chicago. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and DePaul University, Philion has performed with renowned musicians such as Rufus Reid, Greg Ward, Dana Hall, Howard Levy, Gary Bartz, Alfonso Ponticelli, Ernest Dawkins, Geof Bradfield, Brian Settles, Tim Green, Alyssa Allgood, Paul Marinaro, and more.
Philion was selected as the winner of the 2019 International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition and was a finalist in 2015 and 2017. In 2020, Philion was selected to Chicago's Luminarts Jazz Fellowship and was selected as one of The Year Of Chicago Music Featured Artists. In March of 2015 Philion was selected to take part in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency at the Kennedy Center. While there he worked closely with faculty artists Jason Moran, Eric Revis, Eric Harland, Cyrus Chestnut, Carmen Lundy, Andre Hayward, and JD Allen.
In addition to a busy freelancing schedule, Philion leads a quartet featuring Greg Ward, Russ Johnson, and Dana Hall, a 10-person band performing the music of Charles Mingus focused on social justice, and a standards trio featuring Philion's arrangements of standards in the Nat King Cole Trio/Ray Brown Trio style. .
Philion graduated with a Master's in Music from DePaul University in June, 2019 where he studied as a Graduate Assistant with Dana Hall, Dennis Carroll, Mike Allemana, Chad McCullough, and Scott Burns. Philion studied Jazz Bass at Oberlin Conservatory from 2010—2014 under the tutelage of Peter Dominguez, Gerald Cannon, Jay Ashby, Scott Dixon, and more. While at Oberlin, Philion won the Outstanding Soloist Award from Downbeat in the 2014 Student Music Awards edition. His septet also won an Outstanding Small Ensemble Award the same year.
Before moving to Chicago, Philion spent three years working as a bassist in DC and Baltimore with artists such as Allyn Johnson, Sharon Clark, Vince Evans, Harry Appelman, Nico Sarbanes, Elijah Balbed, Herb Scott, and more. In 2017 he moved to Chicago where he plays weekly at the Green Mill (Wednesday's) and frequently at clubs like Andy's, the Jazz Showcase, Room 43, The California Clipper, Hungry Brain, Elastic Arts, and more.