Home » Musicians » Ellen Starr

Ellen Starr

Born in Brooklyn, the multifaceted Ellen Starr has long been a mainstay of the New York jazz scene. She has performed in many of New York top jazz clubs including 55Bar and Sweet Rhythm, leading her own quartet featuring Joel Frahm on tenor sax, Alvester Garnett on drums, and Paul Beaudry on bass. Her original tune “Starrburst” was recorded by Houston Person on “Blue Odyssey” for Prestige Records, with Cedar Walton on piano. The song has been published in the “Real Easy Book, Tunes for Intermediate Improvisers, Vol.2,” by the Stanford Jazz Workshop (Sher Music).

Ellen began her performance career as a jazz pianist and singer, but became active in the worlds of pop music, radio and TV advertising. She wrote an award winning Pepsi jingle, “Pepsi People Feeling Free,” later used in Spike Lee's film “Crooklyn.” She also arranged an album for Aretha Franklin for Columbia Records, “Today I Sing the Blues.”

Working in New York's recording studios as composer, arranger, pianist and jingle singer alongside such people as Barry Manilow, Valerie Simpson and Melissa Manchester, she arranged a tune for Ronnie Dyson that reached the charts at #8. The song was “Why Can't I Touch You?” from the musical “Hair.” She also played in the pit orchestra in such Broadway musicals as “Promises, Promises,” and “Hair.”

Read more


”There are many 'good' singers but very few special ones...Ellen has a fantastic voice, she kicks butt as an arranger and pianist, has wonderful taste in repertoire, featuring songs by new composers...as well as re-presenting some of the standards...she's my personal nomination for talent deserving of wider recognition. (All About Jazz, 2005)

“Really fine vocal/instrumental jazz...Ellen Starr's singing is just lovely--no frills or b.s., very hornlike, intonation right on, and each song's feeling is beautifully conveyed. Her piano playing is excellent...really this is terrific-- I'm just knocked out! (Marvin Stamm, jazz trumpeter)

“I love it! Your voice is beautiful, your piano is high on the 'taste meter,' and I like the arrangements.” (John di Martino, jazz pianist, arranger and composer.)

“Ellen Starr is truly a great musician

Read more

Primary Instrument

Voice / vocals

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


I'm a piano teacher and vocal coach and arranger at Singers Forum (www.singersforum.org) at 49 West 24th street in Manhattan, as well as teaching privately.


Shop Amazon

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.