Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ellen Johnson sings Mingus, Oct 15, in San Diego

Called "superior jazz singing by an artist of the highest quality" by Jazz Journal International, Ellen Johnson - one of my favorite singers in the contemporary jazz scene - will be sharing her unique style and repertoire joined by San Diego jazz artists, pianist Rick Helzer and bassist Rob Thorsen. The concert is scheduled for Thursday, October 15 with one show at 9:00 PM at Tango Del Rey located at 3567 Del Rey Street, San Diego. The admission price is $15 General and $10 for students with an ID. For more information call 858-581-1114 or go to for tickets.

The concert will feature the music of Charles Mingus along with a tribute to jazz vocal icon, Sheila Jordan. Ellen recently featured both of these artists’ music on her CD These Days, writing lyrics to Mingus compositions and doing a duet with Ms Jordan on her song “The Crossing.”

This concert reunites Ms. Johnson with her longtime musical partner, pianist Rick Helzer, Professor and Associate Director of Jazz Studies at San Diego State University and Rob Thorsen, whose current CD "Lasting Impression" was released this year on the San Diego based Pacific Coast Jazz label.

Ellen, who is currently working on an all Mingus project, has written the lyrics to three Mingus compositions and recorded five songs with the permission of Sue Mingus. This event is co-sponsored by the San Diego Jazz Musicians Guild whose goal is to support and encourage a higher quality of Jazz education, appreciation and understanding in the community. For more information contact President Karin Carson at

This event is also part of “Daniel Pearl World Music Days,” an entire month of worldwide "Harmony for Humanity" concerts in memory of the death of Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl reminding the world of the principles by which Danny lived, the universal power of music and our shared humanity.

Ellen has recorded three of her own renowned CDs, "These Days," "Chinchilla Serenade" and "Too Good To Title" and is featured on several compilation CDs including: "Illuminations," "From A Mother’s Heart," and "Jazz Improv Magazine." Her most recent release, "These Days," was called "one of the best albums to be heard from a no-nonsense jazz singer" in her feature article in Downbeat Magazine by Frank -John Hadley and a "sophisticated and successful album that raises the standard of modern jazz singing by at least one notch" by George Harris in All About Jazz. Just recently No Treble Magazine said that These Days, which features seven tracks of bass and voice duets with Darek Oles, "should be in every bassist's collection." It was also voted one of the Top 10 Jazz Vocal Releases of The Year by Arnaldo DeSouteiro on the Jazz Station blog and Press Tribune daily newspaper.

Ellen has performed, recorded and studied with many exceptional musicians including Charles McPherson, Louie Bellson, Bobby McFerrin, Roy McCurdy, Don Braden, Larry Koonse, John Clayton, Jay Clayton, Cameron Brown and her dear friend and mentor jazz icon, Sheila Jordan. Her amazing range, unique jazz phrasing, improvisational skills and imaginative vocal style delights audiences at concerts, festivals, colleges, and venues all over the world. Ellen, who enjoys wearing different hats, is a songwriter, lyricist, publisher, educator, creativity coach, writer, actress and the founder of Sound Visions Media Group which distributes, promotes and produces a roster of jazz artists and publishes educational CDs including "You Sing Jazz," "Vocal Builders," and "The Vocal Warm Up CD."

A former resident of San Diego, Ellen received her Master's Degree from San Diego State University, completed further studies at UCLA Extension Music Business Certificate program and has been on the faculties of California Polytechnic University at Pomona, University of San Diego (Old Globe MFA Program) and other colleges. She was one of the founding members and President of the Jazz Vocal Coalition (JZVOC), President of the San Diego Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Vocal Representative for the California Chapter of the IAJE and the Jazz Editor for Singer & Musician Magazine. Besides her professional recording and singing engagements she teaches jazz vocal workshops and private vocal coaching. She can be reached through her website at or

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