In Memoriam|

From Ben Makinen on Facebook: Our beloved jazz chanteuse has passed away. Today is beyond words… you all know she is featured in my film JazzTown… I have too much emotion… she was one of my first mentors in Denver… my father had a crush on her and came to all of our gigs… Ellyn was the voice and the face of Denver jazz for many years…

Please leave an Ellyn story here for all to remember her charm, her voice, her swingin’ piano and her support of all who came up playing jazz on the stages of Colorado and Europe where she was a hero!

Paul Musso: Heartbreaking news. Ellyn was my musical mother. She was so kind to allow the three of us (Ben Makinen, Geoff Cooke, and me) to sit in with her at the Beowulf when we were just starting out. The hours we played with her were so impactful. Not many veteran jazz musicians would be so open and tolerant to allow three young kids to sit in on entire nights and weeks of a steady gig. She was an amazing human, beautiful soul and a mentor.

One of the biggest things I learned from Ellyn was how to be musical and how to play with intention.

Now we are all orphans without our jazz mom.

Marnie Ward: A loss for our jazz community. She will be dearly missed. Rest In Peace.

Jeff Jenkins: Ellyn, an irreplaceable force in our lives. My heart aches, and with tears in my eyes, I struggle for words. Thank you darling for all you did for us. There will never be another you!
(Jeff wrote a song for Ellyn: https://www.facebook.com/jazziestjeff)

Tenia Renee Nelson: I am so heartbroken. Full of tears. She was such a great human and mentor. I am so beyond heartbroken.

Sheryl Renee: Rest in peace, Ellyn. She was such a classy lady and a wonderfully relaxed entertainer. I last saw my fellow Virgo several years ago at a birthday celebration for her. She was surprised to see me, but I was a fan

Drew Morell: Such sad news to hear. Ellyn was an amazing musician and one of the most deeply unique persons I’ve ever known. She was so wonderful to be around and she always said what she meant, unfettered and unapologetically and still made me feel like a friend, and that she truly cared about everyone around her. Her musicianship was astounding.

Once on a duo gig she had us play a blues at 70 beats a minute. She said, “Don’t play any triplets or any embellishments. Just quarter notes, ok? And don’t let the tempo budge – not one bit.” The tune was 6 or 7 minutes long and I was sweating at the end of it. She turned to me and said, “That’s a big-boy tempo. You just learned a big lesson about patience didn’t you, Drew?”

Judith Coe: What a marvelous human and superb musician Ellen was. She was so kind and affirming to young musicians. I loved our discussions about the power of music and living an artful life. I will miss her wit and wisdom, and her consummate musicianship. A lovely person, a unique Denver soul.

Lynn Baker: It is a wonderful and uncommon thing to meet a mentor when you’re 60 years old, but Ellyn was that to me. I learned so much playing duos and trios with her and still play standards in “her” keys. But not only did I learn about music, I learned grace with her. A beautiful light has left, but like distant stars, her glow continues to illuminate. Rest in Peaceful Power, Ellyn.

Tony Antonio: Oh no, Ellyn you will truly be missed your grace and style that beautiful smile. I enjoyed many swingin’ nites with you at the Burnsly sitting in. In fact the piano that you played for so many years at the Burnsly Hotel is sitting in my living room. Every time I touch it, I will be thinking of you. Rest easy, pretty lady…


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