Ethan Philion

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 Rufus Reid, Greg Ward, Dana Hall, Mark Feldman, Russ Johnson, Howard Levy, Gary Bartz, Alfonso Ponticelli, Ernest Dawkins, Geof Bradfield, Brian Settles, Tim Green, Alyssa Allgood, Paul Marinaro, and more. 


Philion won the International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition (2019) and was selected to Chicago's Luminarts Jazz Fellowship (2020). That year he was also honored 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. 

Philion leads three ensembles in Chicago. He directs Meditations on Mingus--a 10 piece band that performs works by Charles Mingus pertaining to social justice. He performs his original music with a quartet featuring Greg Ward, Russ Johnson, and Dana Hall. He also leads an acoustic 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 and received a BM from Oberlin Conservatory in 2014 under the tutelage of Peter Dominguez, Gerald Cannon, Jay Ashby, and Scott Dixon. 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 performing at Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns, the Kennedy Center, and more. In 2017 he moved to Chicago where he has a weekly residency with Alfonoso Ponticelli at the Green Mill and frequently at clubs like the Jazz Showcase, Andy's Jazz Club, The California Clipper, Constellation, and more.  He has performed across the country in New York City, Denver, Portland, St Louis, Seattle, and more and has performed in Mexico at Xinco Jazz Club.