"If you want to know what real jazz singing can be (but rarely is),
listen to Judy NIEMACK ... She is a musician in the truest sense, having mastered her instrument (a beautiful one), and her chosen language and crafted her own style"
- DAN MORGENSTERN (DOWN BEAT)
Judy NIEMACK is a real jazz singer. Her delivery of lyrics is full of emotion and elegance, while in her scat singing she is a consummate musician, exploring the music like a virtuoso horn player. Having completed her Classical voice studies as a coloratura soprano, she then chose to delve into the mainstream jazz tradition, breaking new ground with original lyrics, arrangements and a modern approach to standards.
Judy NIEMACK was born in Pasadena, California and began singing publicly at the age of 7 in church. Throughout her school years, she sang in every kind of vocal ensemble: madrigals, chamber choir, musical theatre productions, folk groups, rock bands, and eventually a vocal jazz quartet. When she was 17, she decided that singing would be her life, and began to study classical voice with a teacher of "bel canto". At 18, she heard and met the great tenor saxophonist Warne MARSH, and became fascinated by jazz and improvisation. She attended Pasadena City College, studying classical voice, and jazz improvisation with alto saxophonist Gary FOSTER. Continuing her classical studies for the next six years, while singing in jazz clubs at night, she studied at New England Conservatory in Boston, attended the Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Workshop, and, realizing that her true path lay in improvised music, returned to California to study vocal improvisation with Warne MARSH. Marsh taught her as he would teach a horn player. Her goal was to improvise as freely as a great jazz musician would, using all the vocal colors that her classical and jazz training had given her.
In 1977, Ms. NIEMACK moved to New York City to pursue her career as a jazz vocalist. Her first major performance was a week at the Village Vanguard with Warne MARSH in 1978. Her first recording, "By Heart", was released that year on SEABREEZE Records.
Since then she has performed in most of the major clubs in N.Y.C., including The Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Fat Tuesday's, The Village Gate, Visiones and The Rainbow Room. She has toured the U.S. A. in concerts and festivals with several major jazz orchestras, she also performed at the WHITE HOUSE.
Judy is currently performing in jazz clubs, concerts and festivals in Europe and the United States. She now lives in New York City and Berlin, heading the Pop/Jazz vocal department at the Hanns Eisler Music Conservatory as Germany's first Professor of Vocal Jazz.
Some of the musicians she has performed with are: Toots THIELEMANS, David BYRNE, George BENSON, James MOODY, Lee KONITZ, Clark TERRY, Dave BRUBECK, Kenny BARRON, Billy HIGGINS, Cedar WALTON, Ray DRUMMOND, Joey BARON, Fred HERSCH, Billy HART, Kenny WERNER, Jim Mc NEELY, Joe LOVANO, Jeanfrançois PRINS, Kirk NUROCK, Michel HERR, Steve KUHN, Mark FELDMAN, Eddie GOMEZ, Kirk LIGHTSEY and the New York VOICES.
Ms. NIEMACK has written and recorded several of her own compositions, and has written original lyrics to many other musicians' compositions, becoming an official lyricist for: Pat METHENY (It's Just Talk), Thelonious MONK (Misterioso), Lee KONITZ (Round & Round & Round, Chick Came Around), Bill EVANS (Interplay), Clifford BROWN (Daahoud), Don GROLNICK (Talking To Myself), Mike STERN (Choices), Larry SCHNEIDER (Tomato Kiss), Kirk NUROCK (Rain, Silence of My Soul, Moving On, Love Finds A Way), Jeanfrançois PRINS (New York Stories, Love Will Grow), Steve SLAGLE (Tudo Muda, Just For Now), Richie BEIRACH (Leaving), Richie POWELL (Time).
Internationally, Ms. NIEMACK began by singing in ITALY at the PISA Jazz Festival in 1982 and has since appeared in AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, CANADA, CHILE, CHINA, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, HOLLAND, ITALY, JAPAN, the PHILIPPINES, RUMANIA, SPAIN and POLAND.
Recent performances include: "JAZZKAAR" Festival (ESTONIA), "Jazz sous les Pommiers", Avignon Jazz Festival, ALBI Jazz, Le Mans, Calvi Jazz Festival, Jazz A Cluny (FRANCE); Middleheim Jazz Festival, Concert with Toots Thielemans at the "Botanique" Brussels Jazz Rallye (BELGIUM); "Save Venice Ball" (ITALY); W.D.R. Big Band with Jim Mc NEELY, Hessicher Rundfunk Big Band, and RIAS Big Band (GERMANY); Tour in JAPAN with Ronnie MATHEWS, Albert "TOOTIE" HEATH, and Ray DRUMMOND; NEW YORK's BLUE NOTE Jazz Club; STANFORD Jazz Festival (USA).
Judy NIEMACK is very active in the world of jazz education, and has given master classes around the world in conjunction with her tours. In the U.S.A., she has given workshops and lessons at the New School for Jazz, (N.Y.C.) William PATTERSON University (N.J.), University of NewYork at Purchase (N.Y.), LONG ISLAND University and NewYork City College.
She also has taught in:
FINLAND: SIBELIUS Academy of Music
POLAND: Summer Vocal Jazz Camp
BELGIUM: DWORP Summer Jazz Workshop, Royal Conservatory BRUSSELS, R.C. ANTWERPEN
GERMANY: BERLIN Hochschule Der Kunste, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, BUJAZZ-O Big Band Workshop, MUNICH PrinzregentenTheater, INZIGHOVEN Vocal Jazz .
HOLLAND: Conservatories in DEN HAAG, ROTTERDAM, HILVERSUM and ARNHEM.
DENMARK: COPENHAGEN Rhythmic Conservatory, AARHUS Jazz Program
ITALY: PISA Jazz Vocal Workshop
From September 1993 until June 1995, she was on the Jazz Faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, Belgium, and a Guest Professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Holland.
From September 1994 until June 1996, she was Professor of Vocal Jazz at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium.
In Oct. 1995, she became the first Vocal Jazz Professor in Germany, leading the Vocal Dept. of the Jazz and Popular Dept. of the Hanns Eisler Music Conservatory in Berlin.
Every summer since 1990, she has been on the faculty of the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp in CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.
as a leader:
"BY HEART" (feat. Warne MARSH, Eddie GOMEZ). SEABREEZE Rec. 1978
"BLUE BOP" (feat. Cedar WALTON, Curtis FULLER, Ray DRUMMOND, Joey BARON). FREELANCE Rec. 1988
"LONG AS YOU'RE LIVING" (feat. Joe LOVANO, Fred HERSCH, Billy HART). FREELANCE Rec. 1990
"HEART'S DESIRE" duet with Kenny BARRON. STASH Rec. 1991
"STRAIGHT UP" (feat. Toots THIELEMANS, Kenny WERNER, Adam NUSSBAUM, Mark FELDMAN, Jeanfrançois
PRINS). FREELANCE Rec. 1993
"MINGUS, MONK AND MAL" duet with Mal WALDRON. FREELANCE Rec1994
"... NIGHT AND THE MUSIC ..." (feat. Jeanfrançois PRINS, Kenny WERNER, Ray DRUMMOND, Billy HART, Eric
FRIEDLANDER). FREELANCE Rec 1996
"ABOUT TIME" (feat. Eddie GOMEZ, Jeanfrançois PRINS, Lee KONITZ, David FRIEDMAN, CAFE) SONY JAZZ 2003.
as a guest (selected discography):
"BEAUTY AND THE PRINCE" with Jeanfrançois PRINS (featuring Fred HERSCH, Hein van de GEYN, Bruno
CASTELLUCCI). AMC 1993
"RHAPSODY" vol 1 and 2 with Lee KONITZ. PADDLE WHEEL 1993
"THE OTHER SIDE OF WALTER BOEYKENS" Distr. by SONY 1994