Mike Elliott (guitarist)

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For other artists named Mike Elliott, see Mike Elliott

Mike Elliott
Born May 18, 1940
Died September 14, 2005
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1960s–1980s
Associated acts Natural Life

Mike Elliott was an American jazz guitarist.


Elliott born in Chicago and was raised in Colorado and where he later studied guitar with Johnny Smith. His father was a studio musician and his mother a blues singer. He learned guitar at a young age and was playing professionally by the time he was 16. He had formed his own Jazz group and in 1964 he was on the road. He moved to Minneapolis in 1966 and in the seventies he had helped found the jazz fusion group Natural Life whose members included saxophonist Bob Rockwell, bassist Billy Peterson, pianist Bobby Peterson and drummers Bill Berg and Eric Kamau Gravatt.[1]

His long career included periods in the Twin Cities, where he played and recorded with Natural Life releasing an album with them titled Unnamed Land and in Nashville, where he had various roles as studio musician, producer/engineer and songwriter on hit country recordings. He was also with the Minnesota Orchestra and the as featured soloist with the Toronto Symphony.[1]

In the period of the 1980s to the 1990s, he moved to Nashville, TN, and became manager of Gibson Professional Musical Services. He held clinics with Les Paul, Howard Roberts and Elliot Easton etc. His other roles included session work, engineering, producing, arranging and songwriting. He remained in Nashville until 1998. He worked with profile artists such as Johnny Cash, playing on his Johnny Cash Is Coming To Town album,[2] Chubby Checker, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood and Joe Diffie[1] etc. Other artists he worked with were Earl Klugh, Vic Damone, Steve Earle, Crystal Gayle, Tennessee Ernie Ford and more.[3] He also co wrote a song that appeared on John Anderson's triple-platinum selling album Seminole Wind.

In 1996 he received the NAIRD award for his work as an engineer on Steve Earle's Grammy-nominated album "Train A Comin'."[1]

He died on September 14, 2005 after being seriously ill following a heart attack.[4]

There is now a Mike Elliott scholarship award for excellence in guitar.[5][6]


  • 1974 Atrio – Celebration Records CB-5003[7]
  • 1976 Natural Life – Unnamed Land – Celebration Records CB-5005[8]
  • 1977 Natural Life – Natural Life – Asi Records – ASI 5001
  • 1981 Solo Guitar – Celebration Records CB-5881[9]
  • 1983 Diffusion – Celebration Records CB-5702[9] Pausa Records PR 7139 – 1983[7]
  • 2001 Home Cookin' (CD) – 2001


  1. ^ a b c d http://www.talentondisplay.com Front Page News – Guitarist Mike Elliott Dies at Age 65
  2. ^ http://www.commotionpr.com Cash The Legend
  3. ^ mikeelliottjazzguitar.com Mike Elliott Biography at the Wayback Machine (archived October 31, 2009)
  4. ^ Jazz Police Guitarist Mike Elliott Dies at Age 65 by Pat Courtemanche , Jazz Police
  5. ^ McNally Smith College of Music Scholarships
  6. ^ http://www.eastchance.com McNally Smith College of Music
  7. ^ a b mikeelliottjazzguitar.com Mike Elliott Quotes & Reviews at the Wayback Machine (archived November 1, 2009)
  8. ^ Discogs Natural Life
  9. ^ a b mikeelliottjazzguitar.com Minneapolis Tribune at the Wayback Machine (archived September 10, 2001)

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