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Ellie Martin

Recognized in the vocal jazz performance and scholarship worlds, Ellie Martin is a highly respected vocalist, composer, educator, and Jazz studies scholar. She is currently the vocal jazz instructor at the University of Toledo, as well as Toledo School for the Arts. She performs a wide variety of repertoire from Brazilian music, American Songbook, Bebop, as well as her original compositions. A fearless improviser, Ellie delivers songs with individuality, passion, and honesty. Career highlights include performing at the Pittsburgh Jazz Festival, the Sunset Jazz Festival, and the Michigan Jazz Festival. She was the featured vocalist with the National Arab Orchestra in San Antonio Texas, and performed alongside jazz luminaries Geri Allen, Terri Lynne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, the New York Voices, Jon Hendricks, and Afro Blue.  

From an early age, Ellie had a deep interest in jazz. In 2008 she completed her bachelor’s degree in voice at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she studied with Ranee Lee, and performed at the Upstairs jazz club. In 2010, she completed a master’s degree in vocal jazz performance at the University of Toledo. While at UT, Ellie worked closely with the legendary lyricist, vocalist and distinguished Professor of Jazz, Jon Hendricks, and wrote her master’s thesis on his early life and the formation of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.  In addition to Hendricks, Ellie studied with and performed regularly with legendary Detroit pianist, Claude Black, and bassist Clifford Murphy at Murphy’s jazz club. In 2016, she earned her PhD in Jazz Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied with Dr. Nathan Davis, and Professor Geri Allen. Her dissertation how vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross mediated the vocal and instrumental roles in jazz, while simultaneously navigating race and gender roles at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Ellie has given several national and international lectures on the vocal jazz historiography, ranging from topics of improvisation, intersections between voice and instrument, vocalese, and the formation of vocal jazz groups. Her background in Jazz Studies and performance make her a unique and distinctive educator and performer.    

Ellie's debut solo album Verdant, will be released on May 12, 2023. The project is a collection of all original compositions that reflect on her experiences as a woman, a mother and a cancer survivor, and features Grammy nominated pianist and vocalist Peter Eldridge, Israeli guitarist Ariel Kasler, bassist Kurt Khranke, and Costa Rican multi-percussionist Olman Piedra. 


2023 Toledo Arts Comission Grant Recipient 



Album Review

Ellie Martin: Verdant

Read "Verdant" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

There is no time like the present to fulfill your dreams. The hands we are dealt often have a way of making that clear, as vocalist, composer and educator Ellie Martin knows all too well. After receiving a cancer diagnosis, beating the disease, starting a family and finding joy in watching her children bask in the beauty of their present, she realized that practicing carpe diem was the only proper way to carry on. So Martin did what she needed ...

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"Ellie is a talented, creative vocalist.” -Peter Eldridge as quoted in the Toledo Blade 

The beyond merely fabulous, multi-talented singer/songwriter Ellie Martin may be a new artist on the scene, making her recording debut with Verdant, a vibrant, 12-track musical journey chronicling life powerfully lived/embraced and challenges powerfully survived." - Jonathan Widran, jwvibe.com



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Self Produced



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