Ellen’s singing career began in Chicago, where she exhibited a versatile mix of acoustic styles, ranging from pop and jazz to theatrical numbers.
It could be said that her vocal qualities resemble that of Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Reddy, Betty Carter among other soulful ladies. Her vocal effects are unique and not often heard in modern jazz. Her use of the bass as a main instrument as opposed to a back up is a rare touch in this age of overstated, synthesized music. The vocals and bass flow so well together and it has a natural aspect. The use of guitar, drums and percussion likewise fit as easily with the smooth tonation of bass and vocals.
At times, her selections offer a bluesy sound that sends you back to the dark, smoky underground jazz clubs of the 60’s, also shown by the use of poetry in songs such as "Little Messenger". Even the wording of the acknowledgments in the CD jacket show her strong poetic leaning.
Another notable quality is her use of Portuguese in the song "Esperanca Perdida". Not many can do it in this way. I like to think Mr. Jobim would probably give a thumbs up for her rendition of his classic tune.
All around, this is a memorable work by a remarkable vocalist.