Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."
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I'm a jazz vocalist and just released a new CD called "Dreams & Shadows" on the Jazzed Media label. Please check it out at www.judywexler.com.
From Louis Armstrong to Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis to Pat Metheny, jazz artists have always sought to tell stories. And Judy Wexler is a natural storyteller, with a distinctive voice, full of shadings. She knows how to dig into a song and find its essence. She is also "one of the most focused, unpretentious, no-nonsense, bop-oriented jazz singers around," according to Harvey Siders in JazzTimes, with an "instinctive ability to bring out the best in each song, often taking it into unfamiliar territory," wrote Ken Dryden in All Music Guide. Her 2005 debut, Easy on The Heart, made radio waves and introduced her to a wide jazz audience; now comes the follow-up… debuting at #2 on the national JazzWeek chart, Dreams & Shadows, her new CD on the Jazzed Media label, confirms her ability to find great songs and effortlessly bring them to life. Judy was interviewed on NPR Weekend Edition by Susan Stamberg, who said, "From the evidence on her new second album, Dreams & Shadows, Judy Wexler can sing almost anything." (Click here to listen to the 9-minute interview: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88756094)
Judy has sung at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival, and the Temecula Valley International Jazz Festival, where she opened the show for the legendary Mose Allison; she has also headlined in venues as diverse as Montreal, Istanbul, Vancouver and Seattle, Miami, the Sundance Film Festival, and the 2006 IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education) conference in New York, garnering rave reviews and building audiences along the way.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Judy studied piano from the time she was 5, but she gravitated toward theater, acting and singing in high school productions. She majored in psychology and theater at UC Santa Cruz, and after graduating, moved to San Francisco where she continued to perform in theater. Judy met her future husband, her upstairs neighbor, and together they spent a lot of time listening to jazz. "My husband and I lived in North Beach, just a couple of blocks from Keystone Korner," she says (referring to the world-renowned jazz club that closed in the 1980s), "where we frequently heard the finest jazz musicians around. It drew me in then and never let go."
A few years later, the couple moved to Los Angeles. Judy continued performing in theater and television, and guest starred on the hit comedy Frasier. But she was still drawn to jazz and began studying at the D*** Grove Music School. She concentrated on jazz harmony and jazz vocals, and subsequently studied for several years with acclaimed pianist Terry Trotter, with the goal of accompanying herself at the piano. Judy explains, "Finally, I figured I'd be a hundred years old before I'd be as good as I wanted, so I decided I should focus solely on singing." But it took a deathbed wish from her mother to get Judy out on the nightclub stage.
"My mother told me, 'Kid, you want to sing. I'll die happy if you just get out there and do it.' And that was really her final gift to me. She died in August of 1999, and I got my first gig that October. Although I had stage fright, I went out there and did it for Mom. She gave me a kick in the ass."
A few years of increased exposure on the L.A. scene earned her a reputation for the craftsmanship and emotional immediacy of her singing, while displaying her knack for compiling a spirited, cliché-free repertoire. Judy collaborated with Alan Pasqua as pianist and arranger for her first disc, "Easy on the Heart," which received wide airplay and critical acclaim. Pasqua shared the playing and arranging with Jeff Colella on Judy's new CD, "Dreams & Shadows," which has received rave reviews and has remained on the national JazzWeek chart for three months since its March 2008 release. As Christopher Loudon of JazzTimes asserts, "With this exalted follow-up to 2005's superb Easy on the Heart, Wexler proves she's ready to join the top rank of female jazz vocalists."
"I love the freedom of jazz and I love being able to connect with the audience and express myself through the lyrics," Judy beams. "There is so much great material to explore and share. And living in southern California, I get to play with some of the finest jazz musicians in the world. It's a privilege that I never forget when I get up to sing."
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Judy....such a fabulous treat to discover your delicious artistry here...s'wonderful indeed....should you ever need visuals to match your musical prodigiosity (is that a word...mmmmm) would love to network with you anytime...my best to .... always b