Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Johnson, Ellen (Joy)

Johnson, Ellen (Joy), singer, teacher; b. Chicago, IL, 18 December 1954.

Johnson began her singing career in Chicago, IL singing everything from folk, pop, blues, jazz, musical theater, and classical repertoire. She has a four octave range.  She received a B.M. in Vocal Performance from American Conservatory of Music, and a M.M. in Vocal Performance from San Diego State University.  She also attended Birch Creek Jazz Camp, American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria.  She has sung and studied with Louis Bellson, Bobby McFerrin, Charles McPherson, John Clayton, Roy  McCurdy, Kim Riichmond, Willie Pickens, Gene Aitken, Jay Clayton, Pete Christlieb, John Collins and John Stowell to name a few.  She has also recorded for other projects including one for songwriter Hugh Martin, and has done voice work for jingles and film scores.  Ellen has performed extensively at concerts, festivals, colleges, and venues in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Finland, and Mexico.  She has been a featured soloist for many performances of Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts and was a finalist in the American Traditions Vocal Competition.   Ellen is frequently a guest soloist with big bands including the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey tribute bands.  She started her own media and record label, Vocal Visions, in 1990.

She has taught at the University of San Diego and at the Old Globe Theatre's Masters of Fine Arts program. She gave master classes in vocal jazz at the University of Southern California. She was a keynote speaker on the "Art Song of Duke Ellington" for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) international conference. She serves as President and founder of the Jazz Vocal Coalition (JZVOC, www.jzvoc.org), Jazz Editor for Singer Magazine, was past president of the San Diego Chapter of NATS, and was the California vocal jazz representative for the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE).  Ellen was the moderator of a panel at the 2004 IAJE Conference in New York entitled, "The Evolution of Solo Vocal Jazz Singing: Where are We Headed?"

Ellen currently resides in the LA area where she produces vocal projects, conducts clinics and workshops, and maintains an active professional singing career. 

Too Good To Title (1992); Chinchilla Serenade (1997); The Vocal Warm Up CD (1990; with book)

Johnson, "The Basics of Vocal Jazz Improvisation" in Singer Magazine (January 2004)

Just Plain Folks, 2002 music awards, for "Chinchilla Serenade"

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