Ellen Johnson

Upcoming Dates

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

Mingus Sings: The Vocal Music of Charles Mingus
Auburn State Theatre - 7:30 PM
985 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA 95603
530-885-0156 [map]
Price: $26 General Admission / $28 Day of Show

Past Dates

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Jazz Fresno: Jazz at the Library Series - 7 PM
Woodward Park Regional County Library at 944 E. Perrin Ave (Champlain & Perrin)
Fresno, CA [map]
Price: Free


Vocalist and lyricist, Ellen Johnson has been enamored with the music of Charles Mingus for over three decades. Her passion for bass and voice duets, improvised forms of music and complex harmonic and rhythmic music constitute a natural attraction for this innovative musician. Johnson has recorded six Mingus compositions and written original lyrics to four of them including; “Nostalgia In Times Square,” “Peggy’s Blue Skylight,” “Noddin Ya Head Blues” and “Slippers” with permission of Sue Mingus and Jazz Workshop, Inc. Her version of “Peggy’s Blue Skylight” on her debut CD, Too Good To Title, featured alto saxophonist and frequent Mingus collaborator, Charles McPherson. On These Days, Ellen recorded with her friend and mentor, jazz vocalist, Sheila Jordan, whose legendary bass and voice duets began with Charles Mingus. Ellen has performed Mingus compositions in concert, club and other venues and shares her lyrics with other vocalists to sing. Aside from performing Mingus’s vocal songs with lyrics, Ellen uses her voice as another instrument in other Mingus compositions. 

Ellen is especially excited to share this program with her long time musical collaborator and friend, pianist Rick Helzer who has contributed arrangements to many of these songs. They recorded two Mingus compositions together on her debut recording, Too Good To Title. 


Sunday, July 28th, 2019

Mystic Oaks Farm Music Series
Jazz Pack - 1 PM
Private House Concert
Big Oak Valley/Smartsville, CA 95977 [map]
Price: $20

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Roseville Jazz Festival
at Randy Peters Catering and Event Center - 2:30 PM
Vernon St.
Roseville, CA [map]
Price: $45 (includes all day Festival activities)


Aaron Garner, piano 

Peter Barshay, bass

Tim Bulkley, drums

Ellen Johnson performance from 2:30 to 3:30 




Vivian Lee, Beth Duncan, Ellen Johnson, DeAnn Lott & Denise Anya 

Purchase of ticket includes entrance to Sunday Festival!!

For more information go to: www.rosevillejazzfest.com


Thursday, March 14th, 2019

An Evening of Jazz: Gershwin, Irving & Porter
Randy Peters Catering and Event Center - 7 pm
105 Vernon Street
Roseville, CA [map]
Price: $25.00

Friday, February 8th, 2019

John Stowell & Ellen Johnson Duo
The Strum Shop - 7:30 PM
209 Vernon St
Roseville, CA 95678
916-787-8786 [map]



For Workshop in Nevada County go to: www.vocalvisions.net

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Sheila Jordan/Ellen Johnson Workshop & Master Class
@ Mystic Oaks Farm - 1 pm
Black Rd/Big Oak Dr
Big Oak Valley, CA 95977 [map]
Price: $125

Jazz Legend and NEA Jazz Master, Sheila Jordan, known as "one of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers, “gives a rare master class featuring vocalist & educator Ellen Johnson and pianist Jim Martinez. 

TO REGISTER GO TO: www.VocalVisions.net 




Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Dine N Dash Pub & Grill - TBA
1516 S Canyon Way
Colfax, CA 95713 [map]

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

The Art of the Duo - 7-9pm
863 Main Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
650-365-3226 [map]
Price: $10 at door

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Singing From the Soul w/3rd Voice Project
California Jazz Conservatory/Jazzschool - 1 pm to 4 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94701
United States
5108455373 [map]

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Ellen Johnson Video Presentation_Sheila Jordan's Innovative Contributions To Jazz Singing - 11:30 AM -Austria Time
Institute for Jazz Research, University of Music and Performing Arts
Austria [map]


Although singing has been integral to jazz from its beginnings, comparatively little research has been conducted on vocal jazz and the sounds and expressions of jazz voices. The 12th International Jazz Research Conference, entitled Jazz Voices, will focus on exactly this theme. The conference will take place from 17–20 May 2018 at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz and will be hosted by the University’s Institute for Jazz Research, in cooperation with the International Society for Jazz Research.

International researchers from different disciplines, including musicology, jazz & popular music studies, media and cultural studies, sociology, history, and American studies, are invited to submit papers addressing the conference theme from diverse perspectives and approaches. 



Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Sounds Of Love w/Ellen Johnson & Jason Martineau - 3 pm
1537 Euclid Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94708
EMAIL: info@maybeckstudio.org [map]
Price: $20.00

Friday, June 17th, 2016

KCSM 91.1 - Desert Island Jazz Live Interview - 9 AM to 10 AM
Price: FREE - Listen on radio

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Jazz Singing: The Fundamentals and Beyond
Noon to 3 pm
California Jazz Conservatory -2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94701
United States
5108455373 [map]
Price: $100 advance/$115 Day of Workshop

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

10:30 AM
Reynolds Club_ 5706 S. University Ave.
Chicago IL 60637, IL 60637
United States [map]

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Improvising for Singers
Noon to 3 pm
California Jazz Conservatory -2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: $50 advance/ $65 day of the workshop

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

KPFA_Interview with Avotcja Jiltonilro
Berkeley, CA 94705 [map]

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Musical Liasons w/ Don Braden
Workshop at the California Jazz Conservatory - Noon to 3 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94701
United States
5108455373 [map]
Price: $100/$115

FOR INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER CONTACT: https://cjc.edu/workshops/?eid=8496 

OR CALL 510-845-5373

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

California Jazz Conservatory - 8 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94701
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: $15.00


Keith Saunders, piano

Peter Barshay, bass

Akira Tans, drums


Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

4:20 pm
1241 Franklin St
Santa Clara, CA 95050
408-260-2999 [map]

Monday, June 15th, 2015

KCSM Live Interview - 9 AM
San Mateo, CA [map]

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

Sheila Jordan/Ellen Johnson
East Bay Coffee - 7 pm to 9 pm
2529 San Pablo Ave
Pinole, CA
510-964-7827 [map]
Price: No cover

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

Workshop: "The Voice As An Instrument" - 1:00 pm
1090 Avocet Dr
Oakland, CA 94547
United States [map]
Price: http://womensacappella.brownpapertickets.com/

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

First Tuesday Jazz Fest (honoring Sheila Jordan) - TBA
34 West 22nd St.
New York, NY 10010
212-206-0440 [map]
Price: TBA

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Ellen Johnson: A Jazz Child Celebration - 8:00 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94701
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: General: $15 & Student/Senior: #12

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Student Performances of Ellen Johnson - 6 PM to 7 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94701
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: Free

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Innovation Through Creative Improvisation
The Jazzschool - Noon - 3 PM
2087 Addision Street
Berkeley, CA
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: $50 advance / $65 day of workshop


Unleash your creativity in a fun, supportive and interactive environment using free vocal improvisation to activate the imagination. Using simple exercises that incorporate music, sound, language, movement, and rhythm you'll learn to be spontaneous and inventive. Creativity is important to succeed in today’s world and improvisation teaches you how to stay in the moment and adapt quickly to unexpected events. These techniques can also assist in problem solving, better communication, teamwork and cultivate leadership. Studies have determined that using these skills can turn down inhibition and crank up creativity! Open to singers of all levels, instrumentalists or anyone interested in exploring these expressive techniques to benefit their well being.

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

The Jazzschool - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94701
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: $18 general and $12 Senior/Student

with Jason Martineau, piano

Bass & Drums, TBA

Vocalist and lyricist, Ellen Johnson has been enamored with the music of Charles Mingus having recorded six Mingus compositions with original lyrics to three of them (with permission of Sue Mingus and Jazz Workshop). Her version of “Peggy’s Blue Skylight” on her debut CD, Too Good To Title, featured alto saxophonist and frequent Mingus collaborator, Charles McPherson. Ellen has performed Mingus compositions in concert and other venues along with other jazz compositions. Ellen has also performed and/or recorded with Sheila Jordan, Bobby McFerrin, Charles McPherson, Louie Bellson, Pete Christlieb, Roy McCurdy, Billy Drummond, Larry Koonse, John Stowell, Cameron Brown, and Hugh Martin. “Superior jazz singing by an artist of the highest quality.” – Jazz Journal International

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Freight & Salvage Coffee House - 8:00 pm
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510)548-1761 [map]
Price: $26.50 advance/$28.50 at door

On Monday, December 3, the Jazzschool will present its 4th annual vocal scholarship fundraiser at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. Whereas in past years the focus was firmly on Murphy, his music, and his influence (the man himself was in attendance at last year's event), things will take a different turn this year when NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan will be the fundraiser's honoree. Jordan, who turns 84 on November 18, plans to be on hand to enjoy the performances of Kitty Margolis, Madeline Eastman, Ed Reed, a special video presentation by Ellen Johnson, author of the upcoming biography, "Jazz Child: The Sheila Jordan Story" and -- also serving as the evening's musical director -- Laurie Antonioli. They will be accompanied by Matt Clark on piano, John Shifflett on bass, and Jason Lewis on drums.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The Creative Jazz Singer - 8:15 pm to 9:45 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: $270 for six week class

A performance class focusing on all aspects of jazz singing including building a repertoire, communicating with the rhythm section, phrasing, interpretation, improvisation, developing an authentic vocal sound and style, and microphone and performance techniques. Maximum enrollment: 6.
Prerequisites: phone consultation or consent of instructor.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Introduction To Jazz Singing - 6:30 - 8:00 pm
2087 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-845-5373 [map]
Price: $270 for six week class

An introductory class for singers interested in developing a jazz repertoire and learning to sing with an accompanist. Students learn to create individualized jazz charts — the sheet music in the right key — so that they can work effectively with instrumentalists. Each week, the class explores songs, styles, lyrics and delivery while listening to examples of great jazz vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Mark Murphy, Anita O’Day and others. A pianist joins the class in week three and students have the opportunity to perform in class. Some repertoire is provided and students are also welcome to bring songs of their choice. The class includes vocal warm-up exercises to promote healthy vocal technique and covers the basics of effective microphone technique.
Class limit: 8 students.

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Jazz In Ojai House Concerts
Ellen Johnson & John Stowell Concert - 8 PM
Ojai, CA [map]
Price: $25.00

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Ojai Arts Center
Mingus and Beyond - Wahya Consort Concert - 4 PM
113 South Montgomery St.
Ojai, CA 93023 [map]
Price: Price: $10/$5 w/Ojai Music Festival Pass

Ellen Johnson, vocals
Bevan Manson, piano
Brad Dutz, percussion
Rick Shaw, bass

The Wahya Consort makes their debut with a premiere of, "Mingus and Beyond." The name "Wahya," Cherokee for wolf, was specifically chosen by the group to represent the extraordinary beauty and expressions of nature through their musical compositions that focus on original, creative and improvised music with elements of jazz, classical, and world music.
The Consort, in support of the Ojai Music Festival occurring the same day, is providing a discount for their concert to people attending the June 12th performances of composer and conductor Maria Schneider's 18-piece big band and the world premiere of "Winter Morning Walks" with soprano, Dawn Upshaw.

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Vittelos Jazz and Supper Club
Jazz Messages - 8 PM
Studio City, CA [map]
Price: $25

Sheila Jordan
 & Ellen Johnson

Alan Pasqua, piano
Peter Erskine, drums
Darek Oles, bass

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Vocal Jazz Workshop
with Ellen Johnson & Sheila Jordan
Ventura, CA [map]