Laura Ellis
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Laura Ellis

Northridge, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2000

Northridge, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2000
Solo Jazz Cabaret


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Here Lies Love"

Here Lies Love is Kansas City native Laura Ellis’ debut on King Records. Ellis donates the entire run of this recording to the likes of jazz greats Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughn and throws in a tribute to Anita O’Day along the way. She gives her own unique and sophisticated take on legendary songs such as “Blue Gardenia”, “Moonray” and “Tea for Two”. Produced by the legendary Alan Paul of the Manhattan Transfer, Here Lies Love samples standards such as ballads and even gives a tune or two a touch of Latin-flavor, but Ellis remains true to the simple heart of jazz.
First up is the Artie Shaw great “Moonray”. Ellis’ silky voice is a stream of liquid through this wonderful rendition with simple backup instrumentals. Dinah Washington made “I Wanna Be Loved” a classic, never to be outdone by any other artist. Ellis comes close. Her take on “I Wanna Be Loved” is flawless and Washington-esque. It takes a true jazz vocalist to capture the essence of Dinah Washington and Ellis succeeds at it.
The fast pace and staccato tempo of “Little Paper Ball” is a hep tine and brings to mind a late 1950’s jazz scene. A little bit of Latin steam from the band and some quick manipulation of the vocals of Ellis should bring a hefty Salud! The ballad “Lonely Woman” has a sadness to it that is captured by Ellis in just a single line and then she continues the trend with the title track “Here Lies Love”. The Portuguese love song “Exasperada” reads like a poem and while Ellis provides the English translation to the lyrics in the liner notes, her heart-felt rendering of this emotional ballad gives the listener enough emotion to translate the song in their own hearts.
Following a couple of ballads, Ellis turns right around and gives the listener a vibrant rendition of “Tea For Two”. This tribute to Anita O’Day proves that Ellis should be a mainstay in the jazz circles for years to come and features Mark Stevens on the drums, Harvey Newmark on bass and John Rodby on the piano. “Let’s Live Again”, made famous by the George Shearing Quintet features a great scat session by Ellis who is accompanied by Steven’s impressive percussion. Next up is Bob Russell and Lester Lee’s “Blue Gardenia”, another Dinah Washington classic from the 1950’s and Ellis once again rivals the master. Rounding out the release is “My Shining Hour”, the Howard Arlen and Johnny Mercer tune from the 1943 Fred Astaire film The Sky’s The Limit. This is a most appropriate song to end the CD on.
Quick, upbeat featuring every performer from Her e Lies Love, this track also tells the listener that Ellis is truly in her shining hour but she still has more to come.
Laura’s voice is amazing and harkens to mind the classic jazz greats of old. She proves that she can take on numerous jazz styles with ease. Her is delivery is superb, capturing the feeling of these songs, not just with words, but with an underlying feeling. Hopefully, Laura Ellis will be a jazz vocalist mainstay. Pick up this CD and you will not be disappointed.
-Tristan Smith - Jazz Ambassador Magazine

"Femme Fatale"

The vocal abilities of singer Laura Ellis are unquestionably brilliant. Her voice is equal parts sultry, commanding, engaging, and relaxing. Having been mentored by Alan Paul, a founding member of the prolific vocal group, The Manhattan Transfer, it shouldn't be entirely surprising that Ellis sounds as great as she does. What is surprising though is the direction she takes her talent in with her album, Femme Fatale. This 2011 release comes as part of a larger, multi-media project of the same name, that celebrates the music of the Film Noir genre. To this end the title is more than fitting, as on the album Ellis masterfully sings nine vintage songs pulled from various films.

If you can imagine a stereotypical scene from a Film Noir movie, with a beautifully dressed vocalist performing light jazz music in a dimly lit club, then you pretty much have the sound of Femme Fatale. Accompanying Ellis is John Rodby on piano, Mark Stevens and Harvey Newmark on percussion and bass respectively, Bob O'Donnell playing trumpet, and Terry Harrington playing the saxophone while doubling on flute. The small ensemble is perfect for creating the kind of atmosphere the album needs to be able to exist in the universe that it does.

Ellis begins her journey into Film Noir with "I've Been Kissed Before" from the 1952 movie, Affair In Trinidad. It's an excellent piece to start with; suitably mid-tempo with a sexy vocal that Ellis belts out with no problem. "You can tell by my kiss, you weren't the first, and you won't be the last," she sings to the beat of light percussion and a steady bass. The melody is carried by Rodby's piano, but the horn flourishes drive the song along compellingly.

The following song, "Somewhere In The Night" is the first real glimpse of the power Ellis contains in her voice. In the latter half of the song, Ellis displays a beautiful range and an ability to hold and draw out notes without them losing any strength. The song itself is softer than its predecessor, relying more heavily on the saxophone than the piano. Outside the sax, the rest of the instrumentation is more of a backdrop than anything else, allowing for the vocals to take a more commanding role. Still, the piano provides some beautiful ornamentation to an already lovely song, yet doesn't overwhelm Ellis' excellent performance.

"Again" is very similar in style to "Somewhere In The Night," showcasing another beautiful vocal. Unlike the track prior, there's no build to the end, it's just a consistently performed number without any flaws or truly standout moments. It's followed up by the unfortunately too brief, "I Want To Be Talked About." At a little over a minute long, it's a fun, up-tempo song, but it's over just as soon as it begins.

The middle of the album is where some of the most substantial songs come about, beginning with the fittingly titled, "Laura." From the 1944 film of the same name, "Laura" is full of vivid imagery, depicting the song's titular woman. The stunningly gorgeous arrangement is accompanied by Ellis' enthralling voice. It's a serene track that she lays down, her rich and textured singing, matching perfectly with the beautiful lyric. "Blue Gardenia" follows, and it's a more subdued song for Ellis to sing, though the instrumentation is gorgeous. Unlike the other numbers before it, "Blue Gardenia" begins with very light percussion and a darker bass line. Things gradually pick up as Ellis begins to sing, the piano chimes in, and it builds up to a lovely saxophone solo from Harrington.

"Trinidad Lady" is the most unique piece on the album though and is one of the few times where the backing music is more compelling than the singing. Naturally, Ellis is in great form, but the music changes up several times during its little over three minute run time. The band sounds like its being put through its paces as the tempo increases from section to section, before returning to the sound it all began with, to end on.

The other two tracks, on Femme Fatale, "Put The Blame on Mame" and "This Bitter Earth" are worth noting as well, if only just for the opportunity to hear Laura Ellis sing over a couple more songs. If the album has one fault, it's that the content is a little lacking. For nine songs, the album overall clocks in at just over twenty-five minutes. What Ellis accomplishes in this short time is grand, and stays very true to the concept she aimed for. Femme Fatale has a clearly defined sound and ambition; it celebrates the music of Film Noir and does so with astounding flare.

Review by Heath Andrews
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5) - Heath Andrews


Another thing I would have liked more of was the music. The smooth jazz of the era just clicked with the game, making for an awesome backdrop to the surreal city. Adding to that was Laura Ellis‘ performance of the game’s opening track, “Kat’s Song” as well as the later track “House on Fire”, both of which were just incredible. I put off starting the game up, a game I’d been waiting 2/3 of a year to play, just to listen to her sing all the way through the title track. Hearing “House on Fire” a little while later was another treat, making me excited to play through the rest of the game just to hear more of her voice. The game has some nice music in it, don’t get me wrong, but Ellis’ two tracks really steal the show. I just wish there had been more music from her for the rest of the game, as those two tracks top off her involvement with it. - Mash Those Buttons


The two standout tracks without a shadow of a doubt (no pun intended, yet gratefully received) are the ones featuring Laura Ellis, whose mesmerising, heaven-smooth vocals are unforgivably underused. - Critical Gamer


The accompanying musical score is a low, jazzy mix, and does the nearly impossible job of capturing the time period and locales perfectly, though special mention must be made of Laura Ellis’ superb vocal work. - Gaming Bolt


Fans of the smooth and sultry sounds of Jazz will not be able to resist the sounds of 'Contrast'. Whether as a performance by Didi's mother, or as simple background music, Compulsion Games brilliantly enlisted the vocals of Laura Ellis to help set a near perfect mood for the entire game. While I've never been a prolific fan of Jazz, the songs that were chosen and the way they were delivered left a lasting effect on me well after the game ended. It's not often I seek out the soundtrack to a particular video game, but this is one that I could envision adding to my music library. - High Def Digest


I’ve also got to give serious kudos to the Compulsion Games music department. The jazz-infused soundtrack is completely appropriate for the era and could not have been executed better. Considering there are only 16 tracks for the game, each of which is about 60 seconds long, it’s remarkable that the background music never seems repetitive. Even more remarkable are the two vocal tracks by Laura Ellis. Listen to them on Spotify and tell me you’re not astounded. I dare you. - Daily Game


Here Lies Love

Femme Fatale

Featured on the soundtrack, Contrast, Shadow Games




Protégé of Alan Paul,
founding member of the acclaimed vocal group The Manhattan Transfer, Laura Ellis made her solo recording
debut with the sensual and stirring Here
Lies Love
. It was released in 2005 on King Records Japan to rave reviews in
Asia and the U.S.  


Describing Here Lies Love, Tristan Smith of Jazz
Ambassador Magazine writes, “Laura’s voice is amazing and harkens to mind the
classic jazz greats of old. She proves that she can take on numerous jazz
styles with ease. Her is delivery is superb.”


Hailing from Kansas City, Laura Ellis began her professional
career in Los Angeles, performing on stage in theater and theme park
productions. On stage, Laura performed her critically acclaimed ong-woman show
entitled The Vintage Voice,  which ran for four years in venues
across Los Angeles. For six years, she toured the Midwest and West as a member
of the vocal group, The Wonderelles,
performing for audiences of 500 – 8,000.


In 2005, she was honored to
sing the title song for the History Channel special celebrating the famed
highway, Route 66. Her TV vocal performances include soundtracks for the CBS
series Cold Case and the HBO series Carnivale. She has done voice-overs for A
& E’s Biography and Modern Marvels on the History Channel, appeared in a
national ad campaign alongside singing legend, Della Reese, and performed on
the hit TV series, Modern Family.

Laura Ellis’ latest CD, Femme
, featuring songs from the stage show, was released in 2011 on the
Vintage Voice label (itunes, CDbaby). Currently, Laura tours in several touring
productions, performing in theaters and for special events. In 2011 and 2012,
she was a featured guest artist at Noir City, the 10-day San Francisco Film
Noir festival. Recently, Laura was the Artist of the Week on Virgina radio
station WMBG. Her voice can be heard in the trailer for new “noir” videogame,
Contrast, produced by Compulsion in Montreal, Canada.


Laura Ellis productions: Stage show, Femme Fatale: Music, Movies,
& Mayhem
, is a multi-media musical homage to the fabulous film
noire movies of the 40s-50s, featuring Laura Ellis, John Rodby and the Jazz
Noir band. In Femme Fatale, Laura
Ellis portrays the double-crossing, leading lady - singing, acting, and,
through the wonders of green screen technology, appearing, as well, as a key
character in the classic black and white films. Laura’s touring productions
include one-woman (plus band or piano) cabaret-style shows that harken back to
the memorable women in the movies: Temptation – Songs of the Movie Sirens and
new show Cinema Sweethearts. Her latest full-cast touring show, Kit
and the Kats – Remember When?
will premiered in 2013. 


Band Members