Born in Brooklyn, the multifaceted Ellen Starr has long been a mainstay of the New York jazz scene. She has performed in many of New York top jazz clubs including 55Bar and Sweet Rhythm, leading her own quartet featuring Joel Frahm on tenor sax, Alvester Garnett on drums, and Paul Beaudry on bass. Her original tune Starrburst was recorded by Houston Person on Blue Odyssey for Prestige Records, with Cedar Walton on piano. The song has been published in the Real Easy Book, Tunes for Intermediate Improvisers, Vol.2, by the Stanford Jazz Workshop (Sher Music).
Ellen began her performance career as a jazz pianist and singer, but became active in the worlds of pop music, radio and TV advertising. She wrote an award winning Pepsi jingle, Pepsi People Feeling Free, later used in Spike Lee's film Crooklyn. She also arranged an album for Aretha Franklin for Columbia Records, Today I Sing the Blues.
Working in New York's recording studios as composer, arranger, pianist and jingle singer alongside such people as Barry Manilow, Valerie Simpson and Melissa Manchester, she arranged a tune for Ronnie Dyson that reached the charts at #8. The song was Why Can't I Touch You? from the musical Hair. She also played in the pit orchestra in such Broadway musicals as Promises, Promises, and Hair.