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Life On Land

by Joy Ellis

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K15 heard her interviewed on a podcast and checked the music - very very enjoyable. Favorite track: The Jazzman.
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claphamspur This is a stunning debut. The title track gives me goosebumps. Congratulations on a wonderful album. Favorite track: Life On Land.
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From Dusk Till Dawn V1. Glamour girl Anointed with pearls Hair twisted in curls From her golden crown Down to the hem Of her red silken gown She has ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. V2. Stops the room A glittering fire For all to admire Freely drips with charm She smiles sweet and Lightly touches his arm He’ll do whatever she asks. Like the crystal clear martini She draws up to her lip Life’s twisted sweet cacophony Swallows her with one sip. She’s in the prime of life So she should enjoy it while she can April flowers bloom But loose their blossom soon Who could begrudge her a thing? Laugh like your winning It’s the beginning I’m told Dance through the twilight Let your flame burn bright till dawn. V3. Black turns grey Of this she knows Her night will close. Pretty dress is torn Cracked heels and her painted Face looks worn She reminisces alone.
The Jazzman 05:09
The Jazzman He steps to the stage, His face is set and sure, His weapon is his horn and he’s out to war. The crowd hush and still, As the tension starts to grow, He throws back his head and he starts to blow. With every note he builds a tower Intricate and flawless, Sublime. Weaving stories out of space and time The light reflects, connects, subjects And we can all forget. The players get in line Dueling for the crown Show them you are weak and they will cut you down.
Here In The Quiet I love to be, Here in the quiet, Here in the peace with you. Sitting in the garden, walking through the park. Trying to still my mind and just be. Breathing in the night sky, your face lit by the moon. Remembering those sweet days, such sweet days. I love to be, Here in the quiet, Here in the peace with you.
Life On Land 07:37
Veteran 05:23
Veteran V1. Alone again. The walls feel like they are caving in. And the emptiness is stifling And you can’t begin To even think about rising again. An eternity spans a single cycle Of the ticking hand. No friends to see, another day left unplanned; This is your lullaby, On your pillow as you Softly lie. V2. Alone, again. A brand new dawn, a contemporary truth, The deification of beauty and youth. Like flies around a pretty flame You hear the adulation cries again But it’s not for you Or your peers log departed For they’ve forgotten you and the debt they started. So now this is you defiant protest cry The sweet and bitter Goodbye.
What Got Lost Along The Way We two friends may turn old and grey, Time will pass and slip away. Of all those things that get left behind I’ll hide a treasure in my mind. Don’t lament the passing day Or what got lost along the way.
Refugee 05:43
Ellington said; “Music was his mistress.” And her demands are not slight, She’ll pull you from your bed at night A whispered melody to write. Harmonies that intertwine your dreams Like ivy threatening to choke the tree, She’ll make your body ache in pain But you still want to get up and play again. In your triumphs she’ll let you bask in an ethereal glow Then crush you down with a stifling blow. She’ll take all your money and your space for thought, Make you put off all tasks that you ought to do Until you’ve wrought what’s in your mind and in your hands. You shout at the phone to stop ringing; It’s obscuring the melodies you’re singing. You’re trying so hard you feel like crying From your very soul these notes you’re prying. At worst she’ll make you selfish and alone, At best she can heal a nation’s hurt So you see beauty through the scars And all else falls Still.
When The Snows Fall V1. He keeps her picture by his bed And hangs on every word she ever said. He works his day thinking of her Dreaming dreams, desperate schemes he waits: “Perhaps in June we’ll stay beside the sea, It’s pleasant there, they have a fair and fresher air. Maybe Christmas we’ll pick out a tree And decorate with coloured bows and mistletoe.” Chorus When the snows fall, she says she’s coming back. He still can’t believe she’d ever want to leave. V2. The years recede like shifting sand. His hopes a desert of false plans. Deep down he should give up the cause But without her he knows he’s lost. In the park he wanders with his thoughts, Sits quietly, he’ll get a pet for company. Maybe someone else will come along To hold his hand, just for a while, so he can smile. Chorus When the snows fall, she says she’s coming back. He still can’t believe she’d ever want to leave.
Be Kind 04:51
Be Kind Be kind, be kind. The leaves fall so quickly to the ground without a sound. Be kind, be kind. She was the first one to flower and first to fall. Gentle face smiling from the mantelpiece A flicker of memories from another life another place: Scraped knees, climbing up apples trees Fireworks fizzing to the ground Misty mornings on the way to school Weekend trips to the swimming pool Warm salt breeze on a summer stay The family outing to another wedding day. The children will keep on playing, The people still catch the bus to work. Even the sweetest memories slowly fade, I really wish you could have stayed. Be kind, be kind. The leaves fall so quickly to the ground without a sound. Be kind, be kind. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
The City 06:48
The City Dawn Hear the dull rumble of the city rising Cold arteries of iron and brick Pumping the people Towards the bloodless heart of it. Blue collars dozing, white collars posing Shoulder to shoulder with the hipster, the fraudster, the clumsy tourist. A babble of bird-like tongues waiting for the train, The sizzle of slow-rolling traffic driving through the rain. Day Duelling raconteurs in the Square Mile hustling Electric money moves and shifts It barely even exists Making fortunes blossom and fall. Lunch in green spaces, quaint little teashop places. Young executive trying to impress the smirking waitress in the short black dress. Historic monuments beneath ghettos towering, Like shiny grey urban orchids flowering. Dusk Out comes the West End crowd for dinner and drama Strutting along the Soho streets Where the pedestrian is king And all traffic bows down to him. Sirens wailing, harshly regaling The hopeful loners and the boozers, the clubbers and the weary drug users. Twittering of birds singing ceaseless in the night, Kept awake by the gaudy neon light. This is the fabric of my city; The bold, the bad and the pretty.


Life On Land is the debut jazz album by Joy Ellis. The album features Joy's original compositions and reflects her passion for jazz, her love of groove and dance music, her classical roots as a pianist and the mournful, soulful aspects of being a singer-songwriter.

‘Startling debut from British singer-songwriter who sets her cool, poetic meditations...to a suitably restless, sophisticated jazz soundscape. Highly original work that creates a world of it’s own.’ Chris Ingham, MOJO ★★★★

‘Fiery improvisations from Ellis who provides well-structured hard-bop solos on piano and Fender Rhodes.’ John Lewis, The Guardian ★★★★

‘Joy Ellis has a distinctive voice of her own. A very gifted player indeed. A triple threat with those pipes of hers, those fingers and her song-writing assets.’ Simon Redley, Music Republic Magazine ★★★★


released November 10, 2017

Joy Ellis - piano/Rhodes/voice
Rob Luft - guitar
Henrik Jensen - double bass
Adam Osmianski - drums
James Copus - flugelhorn (tracks 4 & 10)
Binker Golding - tenor saxophone (tracks 2 & 8)

Recorded & mixed at Eastcote Studios, London May/June 2016 by George Murphy

Mastered by Andrew Tulloch

Artwork by Lena Feindt

Photography by Adam Osmianski


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Joy Ellis London, UK

Joy Ellis is a pianist, singer and composer based in London. She has toured all over the world playing jazz. Past gig highlights include Ronnie Scott’s, the London Jazz Festival, and No Black Tie Jazz Club in Kuala Lumpur. She was recently selected as one of fourteen emerging artists to work with Mercury-nominated singer ESKA on a composition residency in Manchester. ... more


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