Good people saying good things...

GENERATION NEXT... Close your eyes, and you can (almost) imagine them playing an outdoor festival for tie-dye kids one day and a New York jazz club the next.
— BILLBOARD Magazine
This band was a great choice to get the weekend started. They were a refreshing breath of unfettered improvisation. This trio has that heavy B-3 element that pushes the group toward the funky side of life. Bellar was quite the showman with rowdy tunes like “Biscuit Baby” and “Squashing Pollyanna.” They featured several songs off the new album Oh No Oh Wow, which aptly describes my reaction to Mr. Bellar and company.
— review of 2014 Telluride Jazz Festival Performance - Nicholas Stock
The AS-IS Ensemble has been turning heads and blowing minds across the country.
— Vermont 7 Days
This renegade trio led by keyboardist and sonic explorer Michael Bellar blends pop, rock, funk, jazz and world music elements into a provocative brew on this spirited alt-jazz outing.
— Jazz Times
.....the generally hip might dig the upbeat and refreshing sounds of keyboardist Michael Bellar’s As-Is Ensemble. And while the trio abides by a manifesto balanced with aggression, chops and clever song-forms, it manages to carve out an attention-grabbing and distinct music persona throughout. Hence, the title Turned On Turned Up....It’s a no-holds barred fest......
— All About Jazz
Michael Bellar’s self-produced album is every bit as fun and quirky as its song titles imply. “For joyfully proving himself to be a playful keyboard polymath, Michael Bellar is Keyboard Magazine’s Unsigned Artist of the Month.
— KEYBOARD Magazine
...the love child of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. Pure improvisation, purely intended for fun without linking to any jazz labels.
Keyboardist Michael Bellar gives the piano a voice all its own....
— Flagpole Magazine
And now for something completely different. A deeply funky new album....
— Charleston City Paper
Holy sh_t! This is amazing! 
— WIDR (Kalamazoo, MI)
Welcome to the land of the avant garde rhythm and blues. The eclectic new groove sound of Michael Bellar while harmonically accessible to the “average” listener seems to lean towards some of the left of center work of John Scofield or perhaps Charlie Hunter and Medeski Martin & Wood get into a bar fight. An organic free groove splash of lyrical color from a small ensemble with a large color pallet from which to work. Truth be told...they don’t sound like anyone. Good music has no expiration date nor is it genre specific. Good music should hit you on multiple fronts and permeate your soul long after the last track has finished.
Mission accomplished! One of the best of 2014
— Brent Black -
They deliver a sound that’s fuller & brighter than Bad Plus and more into a Stevie Wonder sense of jam.
— WDCE (Richmond, VA)
Bellar’s translucent, unaffected approach is refreshing....and his layered, overlapping lines during the climactic crescendo are would be hard not to appreciate what Bellar, Jost and Wentworth have accomplished.
Their swing is pop savvy, their mainstream is avant flecked and their whimsy has an earnest base.” “It takes chutzpah – this electrocoustic quintet has as much ambition as it does chops.
The overall effect is joyous.
— Lois Welk, Presenter and Former Artistic Director – 171 Cedar Arts Center






  • header photo by nj whitehill iv