"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 ....…"
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
The Jazz Network is exactly what the title suggests, a place where you get to mix and mingle with those who have not only an appreciation for Jazz but a forum to hear new up and coming artists as well. I've hooked up with so many of my old friends that I've lost contact with over the years here and it's been a great place to meet folk, appreciate good music and Musicianship. What an incredible idea!!
Pianist and singer Barbara Carroll was host Marian McPartland's second guest during the first season of Piano Jazz. Thirty years later, Carroll makes a return appearance to reminisce with her friend about their experiences at the Hickory House and the Oak Room. Carroll gives a charming performance of "Very Early" and McPartland improvises a musical portrait of her guest.
The great composer and bandleader was distraught over the 1967 death of Billy Strayhorn, his songwriting and arranging partner of 28 years. But Ellington took Strayhorn's passing as an impetus, born of necessity, to increase his own productivity. Here are five examples.
At the Village Vanguard, one flight down from the hubbub of New York City, in a tight space packed with people, we're about to embark on a musical odyssey by sea. Our captain is saxophonist Chris Potter, who's launching his Odyssey-inspired album The Sirens.
Divine: The Jazz Albums, 1954-1958 packs four CDs with Vaughan's music, recorded live or in the studio with bands big and small. Two live albums from Chicago nightclubs are standouts, partly when a performance threatens to slide off the rails.