“Lovely singing, poised, elegant jazz phrasing, articulate and eloquent interpretations of lyrics, imaginative variations on composers’ themes all add up to an excellent whole. This is superior jazz singing by an artist of the highest quality who deserves to be heard much more often and more widely than has been the case thus far. Good as Ellen's first two CDs are, and they are good indeed, this new set is really exceptional and should not be missed by anyone who admires good music sung and played with skill, integrity, and emotional intensity."
“The singer keeps it plainly powerful in a talent filled show at the Vic.... And she brings it all together in a manner that connects her listeners with the intrinsic honesty of her interpretations. Johnson opened the set with some sterling interaction with (bassist) Darek Oles on “No Moon At All.” Singing as a soloist with only bass accompaniment is a daunting task, potentially exposing strengths as well as weaknesses.. But her interpretations were right on target, finding the heart of the song, sharing its pulse and flow with Oles’ surging bass line. Finally, concluding this engaging evening, there was a stunning duet between the two singers (Sheila Jordan & Ellen Johnson) in Jordan’s “The Crossing.”
“Ellen Johnson's These Days is one of the best albums to be heard from a no-nonsense jazz singer in the past year; she and her recording are worthy of serious consideration for placement in the 2007 DownBeat Critics Poll.”
"Johnson has released a challenging, sophisticated and successful album that raises the standard of modern jazz singing by at least one notch. While other singers are rehashing the great American songbook, Johnson is putting it through the meat grinder and creating a whole new menu.”
"Jazz singer Ellen Johnson unfortunately is not the household word she should be.... duets with (bassist) Darek Oles will remind jazz vocal aficionados of the Sheila Jordan-Harvie Swartz collaborations."
"Two generations of innovative jazz vocalists came together when Sheila Jordan joined Ellen Johnson, Thursday at the Vic. Jordan was birthed in bebop, singing and scatting chord changes. Her style became a template for those who followed her by innovating the vocal and bass format with Charles Mingus trampling bar lines and improvising lyrics. Johnson is one of her many musical progeny, impressive in that, no matter how she stretches the form, she never neglects lyrical content. Her current “These Days” (Vocal Visions) signals a mature plateau for a special singer."
"As "These Days" proceeds the soul of Ellen Johnson emerges, and she leaves no doubt about the wide range of her talents. In addition, the album reminds us of the fresh ideas, impressive technique and passion for the music that Ellen Johnson offers listeners. "These Days" is a true delight. “
"One of the top three jazz vocalists for 2006 along with Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves."
"The blue-eyed blonde is gorgeous and so is her voice. She has very firm intonation, unique jazz phrasing and can scat well."
“These Days ranks with her most rewarding projects and displays both her voice and her adventurous spirit at their best.”
“In the end, "These Days" is not only a moving testament to the personal journey of Ms. Johnson's life, but also an enjoyable introduction to two great singers of depth and spirit: Ellen Johnson and her mentor, Sheila Jordan.”
"This album will please those who can appreciate this unique format for the lady can definitely sing.”
"I have to comment on the fine instrument Ellen possesses for the jazz idiom in that she sings a repertory of musical interpretation and isn't afraid to associate with adventurous, experimental and contemporary jazz musicians as with the likes of her wonderful bass soloist Darek Oles... All of this filtered through her wondrous voice."
“Ellen Johnson’s new release “These Days” is a complete breath of fresh air. Johnson who is not afraid to go where no vocalist has gone before presents a CD of taking chances. A standing ovation for Ellen Johnson. Thank you for showing the world of Jazz vocals that there is so much to explore.”
"All around, this is a memorable work by a remarkable vocalist"