Balance is a collaborative duo between saxophonist Marcus Elliot and pianist Michael Malis. Called “two of Detroit’s most important young jazz musicians” by the Detroit Free Press, Elliot and Malis’ “intuitive improvisations” stand on the threshold of composed and improvised music, creating intimate portraits of musical expression that deal in the language of subtlety. In 2017, they released their eponymous debut record, which was praised by the Detroit Metro Times as “contemporary jazz of the highest order, a benchmark for where the genre can go.”
As a duo, they have performed at some of Detroit’s most stalwart cultural institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Public Library. They were named Artist-in-Residence at the Chamber Music Society of Detroit for their 2017-2018 season. As part of that residency, they were presented in concert as part of CMSD’s brand new “Jazz Works” concert series. Additionally, they have partnered with CMSD in a new educational initiative which brings jazz to students in public schools utilizing an innovative merger of technology and live performance.
As individuals, they are bandleaders who have released critically acclaimed albums, composers who have had their music performed around the world, and sidemen who have performed with a wide variety of jazz luminaries, including Marcus Belgrave, Jimmy Cobb, Karriem Riggins, Mulgrew Miller, Robert Hurst, Talib Kweli, Tyshawn Sorey, William Hooker, and many others. They have performed around the world, both as leaders and as sidemen, at venues such as Birdland, The Kennedy Center, The Stone, The Yokohama Jazz Promenade, and The Detroit Jazz Festival.
Michael Malis is a pianist and composer based in Detroit, MI. In August 2017, he released an album of duets with saxophonist Marcus Elliot, entitled “Balance.” The album was praised by the Detroit Metro Times as “contemporary jazz of the highest order, a benchmark for where the genre can go.” He has performed at venues such as the Yokohama Jazz Promenade (Yokohama, Japan), the Kennedy Center, Birdland (NYC), the Detroit Jazz Festival, The Stone (NYC), and the Detroit Institute of Arts, and with notables such as Marcus Belgrave, Tyshawn Sorey, William Hooker, Jaribu Shahid, Ken Filiano, Andrew Bishop, Dennis Coffey, and Marion Hayden. Hhe has been lauded for his scores for film and theater, which have garnered awards, critical acclaim, and have reached international audiences. He is a founding member of Polyfold Musical Arts Collective. He is currently as Master’s student at Wayne State University, studying composition.
Marcus Elliot is a saxophonist, composer, improvisor, and educator based in Detroit, Michigan. His compositions and improvisations has been described by the NYT as "convincing and confident, evolved in touch and tone...", and the Detroit Free Press has said "Marcus Elliot represents next generation of jazz". Elliot leads and co-leads many different Detroit based bands including the Marcus Elliot Quartet, Clockwork, Balance, Beyond Rebellious, and Lanula. He is a Fellow of the Geri Allen Gathering Orchestra. He co-founded the nonprofit Polyfold Musical Arts Collective. Elliot is the director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Jazz Ensembles. Marcus is currently pursuing his Masters of Music degree at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded a graduate assistantship. He is active in the Detroit music community, collaborating with musicians in jazz, experimental, electronic music, and r&b.