John Ellis is a pianist/singer from the north of England and has worked with artists such as Tom Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Lily Allen and John Squire (Stone Roses). He is also a founder member of The Cinematic Orchestra and a major contributor to the albums ‘Everyday’ and ‘Man With The Movie Camera’. John has written scores for various theatre productions including a National Theatre affiliated production based on the novel ‘A Clockwork Orange’ for Benji Reid’s Breaking Cycles theatre company. He currently runs Manchester’s Limefield studio, producing a wide range of artists and musicians and performs regularly with his own trio as well as Kirk McElhinney, Honeyfeet and Baked ALaSka.

John is amongst the lineup of artistic directors leading a team of emerging musicians in our Manchester Hill WW1 Residency which will commemorate the forgotten story of the fall of Manchester Hill in 1918.

“One of the tragedies of the Manchester Hill story is how, before many of them were killed in such a brutal situation, these men forged deep bonds of friendship and trust working together so closely as they did. In collaborating together with such a large group of people, many as young as some of those of this event of 1918, we can point the way with our collective creativity to something beyond this tragedy. And play our tiny part in realigning the human soul from these enormous traumas that the 20th century dealt to our world.”


John Ellis’ Spotify Playlist

Nobody’s Fault But Mine — Nina Simone

The goddess incarnated into music.

Tomorrow Never Knows — The Beatles

A kind of audio creative supernova occurred didn’t it? When the most popular and the most creative and progressive became one.

Flos Campi (Suite for Viola and Orchestra) — Ralph Vaughn Williams

This is my favourite piece to bring me back to the heart of green England.

Eguetmar — Noura Mint Seymali

This is just great, blues of the world. Now.

Pozo Del Deseo — Toumani Diabete

When I first heard this in the late 90’s it was so inspiring from the point of view of a genuine world collaboration and my introduction to the Kora and the great Toumani Diabete.

Introduction To A Mighty Theme — Joe Zawinul

Joe was such a pioneer and leader in world music collaboration and this track gets me every time with audio quotes from Duke Ellington. It conveys a sense of global musical ancestry that I recognised and find really moving.

Don’t Cry It’s Only The Rhythm — Grace Jones

When only 6 people in the world had a sampler, what do you do with it? Early days. The album is a one off headphone treat.

Dinah — Fats Waller

Fats on record is the eternal fountain of joy. The life in it is fresh as anything. Still one of the funkiest on YouTube.

Gather Me — Honeyfeet 

The best.

If You’re Sure You Want To — Alabaster Deplume

One of the best.