Sunday, August 23, 2009


A look back at Ellen Johnson’s “These Days”
by Evan Kepner


These Days has been on the shelves for a bit, but it should be in every bassist’s collection.

Ellen Johnson performs with bassist Darek Oles to create beautiful mixtures of voice and bass. It is not an exclusively duet album, other featured artists include Shelia Jordan, Roy McCurdy, Larry Koonse and Ana Gazzola.

The album was dedicated to Johnson’s friend and mentor, Shelia Jordan. Jordan was one of the early innovators with vocal and bass duets and began her first duet work with bass legend Charles Mingus. Johnson also shares a passion for Mingus and his work, evident by her arrangements of “Noddin’ Ya Head Blues” and “Nostalgia in Times Square,” where she adds lyrics to both songs (with the permission of Sue Mingus).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


pages 34 and 42

For Bass Players Only -

Dirty Linen Magazine (Folk & World) -

Singer-songwriter-bassist Mimi Jones captures a part of world music that creates a genesis of ethnic musical influences which exhibit a tinge of Latin-soul, smooth funk, and soft jazz arias in her music. Her latest recording, A New Day, will have you waltzing in the kitchen of your home through the scintillating glides of her bass in “Fast Lane,” and tapping your feet to the swampy guitar pickings of “Watch Your Step” as Jones’ vocals shimmer with a gospel-toned inflection. Her music inspires an inner peace and a reverence for notes that take their time in pouring out. A New Day is Mimi Jones’ debut, and it is a fine piece of work for her to make her entrance onto the world stage. The title of the CD, A New Day, expresses hope and optimism, which are an intrinsic part of Mimi Jones’ philosophy on life. Her music shows flexibility and a sense of worldly influences, which only an international artist would understand how to integrate. She makes it all look so easy. READ ENTIRE REVIEW click link above

INTERVIEW WITH MIMI JONES: Improvijazzation Nation by Dick Metcalf

More Reviews,etc:

Featured in No Treble Magazine

Pick of the Year: Most Creative Artist:
Improvijazzation Nation by Dick Metcalf

John Book, This Is Book's Music:

Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes:

Jazz Journalist, Bruce Crowther at


Smooth Jazz Therapy:

Digital Media Jet:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Master Guitarist, John Stowell Brings His Unique Sound to Ojai with Concert & Workshop

featuring special guest vocalist,
Ellen Johnson

Friday, August 14 (8 PM - 11 PM)
at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Saturday, August 15 (Noon - 2 PM)
at Vocal Visions Studio

A world class guitarist, John Stowell is known internationally as a musician with a unique sound supported by a sophisticated harmonic concept. As a result John has shared the stage with some of the most respected musicians and singers in the world including Milt Jackson, Lionel Hampton, Paul Horn, David Friesen, and many others. John will be performing in concert with guest vocalist, Ellen Johnson, on Friday August 14 at the Ojai Valley Inn located in Ojai at 905 Country Club Road. There will be two shows, one at 8 PM and one at 9:30 PM. On Saturday, August 15th from noon to 2 PM, John will present a guitar workshop. The workshop will not only cover guitar techniques but will be open to singers who are interested in observing his accompaniment style (assisted by vocalist Ellen Johnson). For more information on how to register please contact or 805-272-8125.

John Stowell began his successful career in the early 1970's with private study with guitarist Linc Chamberland and pianist John Mehegan. Both men were valuable mentors to John, allowing him to play with them as he progressed in his development. Several years later he met bassist David Friesen in New York City, and they formed a duo that recorded and toured prolifically for seven years, with performances in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. In 1983, John and David joined flutist Paul Horn and Paul's son Robin Horn (on drums) for a historic tour of the Soviet Union. This was the first time in forty years that an American jazz group had been invited to play public performances in Russia. In 1993, 1995, and 1998 John returned to Russia, playing in numerous cities. His two sold-out performances in Kursk may have been the first appearances there by an American jazz musician.

John continues to tour, record and teach internationally spending half of his time in the New York scene and the other in scenic Portland, Oregon. He has been Artist-In-Residence at schools in Germany, Indonesia, Argentina, and in the United States and Canada. He served as assistant director and performer in Oregon Public Broadcasting's PDX Jazz Summit in 1991, and since 1995 has been a contributing columnist for a number of magazines, including "Downbeat", "Guitar Player", Canadian Musician", "Soundcheck" (Germany), and "Guitar Club" (Italy). John is featured along with bassist David Friesen on the soundtracks of two Academy Award Nominated short films (Will Vinton Studios, Portland, OR, and Bosustow Studios, Los Angeles, CA). The album "Through the Listening Glass" with David Friesen was chosen one of the Ten Best Jazz Albums of the Decade by the Los Angeles Examiner and John was chosen Talent Deserving Wider Recognition by Downbeat's International Critic's Poll in 1978 and 1979. He has also been featured in Japan's "Swing Journal”, "The Jazz Guitar" (Ashely Mark Publishing, England), and the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler) along with appearances on BET Jazz Discovery and Guitar Series television shows.

Monday, August 3, 2009


"This CD gets my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, as well as the "PICK" of the YEAR for "most creative artist"!
Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

IMPROVIJAZZATION Nation - Issue # 93

- interview by Dick Metcalf

From the opening bar of Mimi's debut CD, "A New Day", reviewed in issue #92, I knew this was someone we HAD to interview for this magazine... not only an extremely gifted & talented composer/player, but a real "person" as well. I've a feeling we will all be hearing a LOT more from Mimi - I know I will! I want to thank her, too, for taking the time to write up a very revealing & personable interview for us!

Read the interview at: