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Chinchilla Serenade

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Album Review

Ellen Johnson, a classically trained singer based in San Diego with a beautiful voice and a wide range, can hit notes so high that it makes one shiver; fortunately, she is always in tune. In addition to her classical background, Johnson is a fine improviser. Some selections find her accompanied by a trio led by pianist Rick Helzer, while a few other songs add guitarist Peter Sprague and several horn players. The repertoire is diverse and challenging, with the tunes including "Yesterdays," a very sensitive version of Thad Jones' "A Child Is Born," the swing standard "You Turned the Tables on Me," Jobim's "Someone to Light Up My Life" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." Ellen Johnson, who wrote the title cut and co-composed "Goin' Home," asounds particularly passionate on Duke Ellington's "Freedom." An impressive outing from the very promising singer.


Born: 18 December 1954 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Spoken Word

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A singer with a wide range and a strong feeling for jazz improvisation, Ellen Johnson has thus far been as notable for her work as an educator as she has for her performing talents. Her mother had been a professional singer who played piano and her uncle had played clarinet in Glenn Miller's Army Air Force Band. Johnson grew up in Chicago and studied guitar in high school but had originally planned to become a theater actress. However when she took voice lessons, she became hooked on the music, and...
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Chinchilla Serenade, Ellen Johnson
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