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A photo of CCM alumnus Maurice Ellis.

All About That Bass: CCM Jazz Alumnus Maurice Ellis Finds Success Touring with Pop Stars and Broadway Productions

A mere three years after completing his studies at CCM, alumnus Maurice A. Ellis (BM Jazz Studies, 2012) has quickly made a name for himself as a bassist for some of pop music's biggest stars.

A musician since the age of 11, Ellis' skills as a bass player, orchestrator and arranger have quickly propelled him to the national stage. Most recently, this included a summer tour with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Meghan Trainor, which included televised appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

“After graduating from CCM, I moved to LA to start work with the Disney All American College Band,” he explains. “With the knowledge I gained in that program, I decided to forgo graduate studies and try my luck in the music industry in Los Angeles.”

That gamble paid off and Ellis soon found himself playing with several rising pop stars, including Trainor, whose chart-topping hit "All About That Bass" has sold over 9 million copies to date.

CCM's Jazz Studies program is designed for students seeking a professional career in jazz and related fields of contemporary music, so Ellis' cross-over success comes as no surprise to CCM Professor and Jazz Studies Program Director Scott Belck.

"Our goal is to develop the special talents of the creative jazz artist while also providing the flexible skills that are necessary to be a successful, well-rounded musician," Belck explains.

That flexibilty is on full display in Ellis’s performance resumé. In addition to his work with pop musicians, Ellis has been a pit orchestra bassist for the touring Broadway productions of Dreamgirls, Shrek the Musical, Wicked and The Addams Family.

Outside of musical theatre, he has performed with Brian Culbertson, L. Young, Noel Gourdin, Sy Smith, Antonique Smith, Algebra, Heatwave, Chi-Lites, Ray Parker Jr., Blue Magic, Sly, Slick and Wicked, Debbie and Ronnie Laws, the Originals, and Denise Williams and The Moments, along with a host of other seasoned musicians.

Ellis currently resides in Los Angeles and is working on his debut album, aiming to build on the success he has already achieved. “I was able to meet the right people and work my way up to where I am now,” he explains. “I hope to keep growing in my career, as I know I still have a long way to go!"

While this may be true, it’s obvious that Ellis’ career is off to a great start.

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