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Elena Gilliam

     Elena Gilliam, awarded a Living Legend of Jazz in 2013 by the Living Legends of Jazz and Blues Foundation of Los Angeles, performs throughout Southern California and is widely applauded as comparable to Jazz greats Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and the like. Her rich eloquent tones and brilliant phrasing take you on a musical journey of jazz, swing, standards, Latin and blues.

     Shall We Dance was Elena’s Orchestral debut and celebration of the official recording release of the same name on April 7, 2024, at the beautiful Barclay Theatre in Irvine. She mesmerized her audience with beautiful orchestral renditions of classics; Shall We Dance, Send In the Clowns, The Sweetest Sounds, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life and more! The Orchestra was conducted by award winning producer/composer/arranger Bob Barrett and features Grammy nominated producer/musician Tony Guerrero.

     An extraordinary jazz vocalist, Elena polished her remarkable vocal style over the years as she found her spotlight in countless local venues, events and festivals including The SoCal Jazz Festival, Hyatt Newporter Jazz Festival, KKJZ 88.1 Jazz at the Segerstrom jazz series, Spaghettini Grill & Jazz Club, The Lighthouse Cafe,́ Steamers Jazz at Jax Artist Showcases in Newport Beach, and many more! Elena’s recording career varied widely over the years. Her current release was her dream of performing with a symphony, reaching new heights of expression. From Big Band arrangements to private producers and her first solo CD in 2008 with her gifted husband, guitarist George Gilliam. Moments in Time was a “swinging” expression of their special musical journey. After ten years she released, Then Another Turns, a powerhouse of vocal expression. It includes remarkable standards with fresh arrangements, and a turn at a Bessie Smith Blues.

     Elena truly believes that performing nurtured and empowered her character and strives to help teenagers and young adults needing a positive outlet. In 2013, after being awarded the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation Artist Outreach Project Grant, she was able to subsidize her volunteering efforts and developed performance workshops. She also continues to promote young jazz artists and bridge the generations through producing jazz events, including Art & Jazz at the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim. Elena holds a Jazz Residency at the Muzeo where she produces Art & Jazz to celebrate jazz history, music and visual arts. This provides an opportunity for college students in Orange County to perform live and virtually.


     Elena is just hitting her stride. Her natural style, versatility and energy are relished by her strong following. Elena’s the “genuine article”, the “real deal”, as lauded by fans, and fellow musicians! Your heart will embrace her beautiful sound and endearing spirituality.

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