Deeply influenced by the profound and powerful heritages of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, along with his inexhaustable list of significant influences including Richard Strauss, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins, James Brown, Claude Debussy, Joe Henderson, Jaco Pastorius, Maurice Ravel, Freddie Hubbard, The Beatles, Nat King Cole, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Gustav Mahler, Pat Metheny,Kenny Dorham, Bob Marley, Stan Getz, Art Blakey, Hector Berlioz, Horace Silver,Led Zepplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Evans, The Roots, Weather Report, Count Basie, Ornette Coleman, Hank Mobley, Sarah Vaughn, Ben Webster, and Billy Strayhorn, Elias embeds the best of these traditions into the foundations of his own compositions.
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Elias Haslanger is a young, up and coming saxophonist, highly- coveted and prolific performer who has performed with an incredible who’s-who list of musicians including Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie, Martin Banks, Roy Hargrove, Harry Connick, Jr., Wes Anderson, Ryan Kisor, Chucho Valdes, Lew Soloff, Frank Foster, Clark Terry, Russell Malone, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Jesse Davis, Steve Turre, Al Grey, Peter Martin, Donald Edwards, Allen Farnham, Roland Guerin, Fred Sanders, Edwin Livingston, JJ Johnson, Brannen Temple, Kirk Whalum, Joe LoCascio, Tony Campise, Asleep at the Wheel, Mitch Watkins, Bob Meyer, Jae Sinnett, Marvin Stamm,The Temptations, The Four Tops. James Polk, and countless others. Elias has opened for the legendary McCoy Tyner and jazz greats Kenny Garrett and Terence Blanchard. Mentored by the legendary classical saxophonist Harvey Pittel and by Dick Oatts (of the Mel Lewis/Thad Jones Big Band & Red Rodney Quintet), Elias began to explore the instrument’s vast potential, studying saxophone at the University of Texas and the Manhattan School of Music, receiving his Master’s Degree in Composition at Southwest Texas State. In 1997, Elias was awarded the Jazz Instrumental Soloist (College Outstanding Performance-Tenor Sax) for the 20th Annual Downbeat Student Music Awards. In 1998, Elias was awarded the Mitte Scholarship from Southwest Texas State for academic achievement. Elias taught theory, saxophone and composition at Southwest Texas State in San Marcos for a year before moving to New York. In the summer of 1998, Elias performed (by re-invitation) at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Montreaux Jazz Festival.
Elias' band on "Kicks Are For Kids" includes J.J. Johnson on drums (Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer, Doyle Bramhall ll), Fred Saunders on piano (Wynton Marsalis), Edwin Livingston on bass (Jason Marsalis) and Tito Carrillo on trumpet (Patricia Barber, Chicago Jazz Ensemble and the Woody Herman Orchestra) and Ellis Marsalis on piano.
Elias’ 1997 CD "For the Moment" received substantial national radio airplay, reaching #11 on the Gavin Jazz charts and #14 on the Jazziz
Radioactive chart. Elias was voted Best Horn player at the 1997 Austin Music Awards and Best Jazz Group at the 2000 Austin Music Awards. Elias appears in and is featured on the soundtrack for the 1998 Richard Linklater film “The Newton Boys.”
Elias’ most recent CD “Kicks Are For Kids” featuring guest pianist Ellis Marsalis reached #4 on Gavin Jazz radio charts in the Fall of 1998, receiving 590+ spins a week on 180+ jazz radio stations nationwide. "Kicks are for Kids" was voted as one of the top five jazz records of the year by Rick Mitchell of the Houston Chronicle, while the Austin Chronicle's writers Jay Tractenburg and Christopher Hess voted it as the #1 and #3 best record of all Austin Artists. Downbeat magazine writer Michael Point voted "Kicks are for Kids" as one of the top ten best CD's to come out of Austin in the 90's. Elias has been featured in many national publications including Billboard, JazzTimes,Cadence, Texas Monthly, and Jazziz Magazines.
Elias has performed around the United States and Europe at clubs like Snug Harbor in New Orleans, Jazz Alley in Seattle, The Elephant Room in Austin, and The Blue Note in New York. He has also acted as a guest artist/lecturer at universities around the nation. To date, Elias has recorded three critically acclaimed CD's; Standards For the Moment, and Kicks are For Kids, all of which have been played on radio stations around the world. Elias' playing has drawn comparisons to John Coltrane, Ben Webster, and Sonny Rollins.
"This is what a cohesive band should sound like... classic-sounding jazz with a serious groove that will grab you with it's quiet confidence. The whole album (Kicks are for Kids) continues impressively from top to bottom.” -– Jordan Mackay, Texas Monthly
Feature Article: Workin’ Steamin’ Relaxin’ Leavin’ By Christopher Hess, Austin Chronicle “Melodies jumping like bursts of water from an oscillating sprinkler, Elias Haslanger plays his saxophone with a collected abandon, his hands moving in rapid and efficient strides over every key. His method is a meticulous unpredictability, solo jaunts that run wailing, staggered, and askew into the back line. The directions he takes and the lengths to which he commits to them indicate an unthinking confidence in his support onstage - a rhythm section that inspires this total confidence.” http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol17/issue40/music.haslanger.html
"Haslanger, a highly accomplished saxophonist who suggests a number of influences, Coltrane for one, still projects a sound of his own. This is a swinging, cohesive ensemble." -– Marcela Breton, JazzTimes Magazine
"This young saxophonist sounds like a national-class talent, with a confident command of the tenor tradition from Ben Webster to John Coltrane and an outward-bound band to push the envelope." -– Rick Mitchell, The Houston Chronicle
"Most impressive." -– Ira Gitler
“Tenor saxophonist Elias Haslanger is the real deal, a no-nonsense modernist whose Rollins-esque rhythmatics and Coltrane-tinged harmonics surge and soar. The young titan flies with a spiky quartet whose savvy hipness recalls the best groups of Davis, Blakey and Silver... a highly appealing date with plenty of blood and thunder and seriously swinging fun" -– Chuck Berg, JazzTimes Magazine
"The Coltrane comparisons are already coming for saxophonist Haslanger, and they're not unfounded. On his second release, Haslanger proves adept at emulating 'Trane's earlier work and also evinces a strong feel for the master's spiritual side, as on the stirring, beautifully conceived "Patience." But locking this guy into a category and leaving him there is simply wrong-headed: With his slippery, multi-faceted approach, Haslanger sounds like he's at the beginning of a career path all his own. With melodic gifts that are every bit as inventive as his chops, Haslanger's composing shows a deep understanding of classic-era Blue Note ensemble invention.” -– Larry Nai, JAZZIZ Magazine
"Combining an intensity and lyricism reminiscent of early Coltrane with an inherent sense of fun and adventure" -– Steve Graybow, Billboard Magazine
"Elias's CD (Kicks) is very much in the Jazz group concept of the 90's. It is obvious he has spent the time to reach a level of excellence that is commendable." -– Ellis Marsalis
"Editors pick for best jazz release" - cdbaby.com