Saxophonist and composer Elijah Jamal Balbed hails from Washington, DC, having studied with the area's top educators Paul Carr, Charlie Young, and Fred Foss. Named Best New Jazz Musician of 2010 by the Washington City Paper, Balbed's credits reach beyond the district, having performed in several cities in the United States (Austin, Philadelphia, NYC, to name a few), and in 4 cities in Japan (Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagano, and Karuizawa). Elijah attended Howard University from 2008-2011, where he played in the Howard University Jazz Ensemble (HUJE) and the HU Jazztet. At Howard, Elijah has appeared on 4 albums with HUJE, 1 album with the Jazztet, and performed with Bunky Green, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Bennie Maupin, and Larry Willis.
In May of 2011, Elijah had the rare opportunity to perform with music legend and Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown. Over the next year, he served as a part-time member of Mr. Brown's band until his passing in May of 2012, having performed with him in Raleigh, Harrisburg, Richmond, Cramton Auditorium, 9:30 Club, LOVE, Ibiza, and several other local Go-Go venues. In July of 2011, Elijah was given a residency at the legendary jazz club, Bohemian Caverns. It was this residency that prompted the idea for a recording session. This idea quickly spawned into 2 spirited recording dates in August, 2011, and a successful Kickstarter Campaign in September, which led to the creation of this album.
In 2012, Elijah began working more regularly with his own band, dubbed the "EJB Quintet". This group, with a few variations, performed highly successful concerts at Bohemian Caverns, Kennedy Center, and Strathmore. In addition to gigs as a leader, Elijah is also a current member of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra (BCJO), Donvonte McCoy Sextet, and the Chuck Brown Tribute Band. Donvonte McCoy's band was named Best Jazz Small Group in 2012 by the Washington City Paper. Also in 2012, BCJO received a Mayor's Arts Award for Best Emerging Artist.
Elijah has appeared on albums such as "Bright Moments", "Moonwalk", and "Ode to Life" (HUJE), "Reign" (HU Jazztet), "Dhyana" (Andrea Wood), "Under the Sun" (Christos), "Cosmic Collisions" (Lydia Lewis), "Lovely Changes" (Lena Seikaly), and the film "Oxygen for the Ears" by Dr. Stefan Immler, which also features Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding, Chuchito Valdes, and the late Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson and Dr. Billy Taylor.