Dallas jazz singer Judy Chamberlain, a renowned interpreter of The Great American Songbook, is known for her phrasing, improvisational skills and enormous repertoire of vintage standards. Named “one of the top jazz singers of all time” by author Scott Yanow, she has been delighting sophisticated audiences for more than four decades.
“Slick,” says The Dallas Morning News.
“Jazz singer/bandleader Judy Chamberlain has mastered the art of mesmerizing both the audience and her own band.” All-Music Guide
A New York City native, Chamberlain was based in Southern California for thirty years before relocating to Texas in 2011. Her Uptown Dallas cabaret-style jazz performances are a veritable master class in the art of musical interplay.
The musicians who accompany her have toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Michael Buble, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Diana Krall, to namme just a few.
Chamberlain has entertained at the weddings, parties and events of celebrities, high-profile political figures and the composers who actually wrote the songs she sings.
Paul Anka once gifted her with her own lyrics to his iconic Sinatra hit “My Way.” And Judy has, indeed, been doing it her way since she began her professional career at the age of 13, already a seasoned inhabitant in a rarified world of dinners at The Stork Club and Cole Porter dropping in to listen to Mabel Mercer at Tony’s or The Byline.
She adores sharing that world with her audiences, transporting them to a time they know and love, even if they never were there.
“Judy Chamberlain is a walking encyclopedia of The Great American Songbook.” Chuck Niles, Pacific Public Radio/K-JAZZ Los Angeles
“Jazz singer Judy Chamberlain solidly affirms the music’s far-reaching, continuing vitality.” Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
“I don’t know how she recalls this stuff, because she’s too young.” Al Rudis, Long Beach Press Telegram
“I LOVE YOU JUDY CHAMBERLAIN!” Jonne-Marie Switzler, Manager/Playboy Jazz Festivals
“Youre just like ‘the Old Man,’ cookie,” Al Viola, guitarist
Backed by the finest musicians in the world, including members of Frank Sinatra’s touring and recording bands, her performances are extraordinarily versatile and musically authentic. Judy’s eclectic repertoire draws from her years of experience with a kaleidoscope of wildly diverse textures. The music of the Gershwins, Harold Arlen, The Beach Boys, Harry Warren, Dietz & Schwartz, Harry Nilsson, Jimmy Webb, Andrew Llyd Webber, Glenn Miller, Edith Piaf, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Joni Mitchell, The Mamas and the Papas — there’s no telling what she’ll pull out of her crazy quilt of musical treats, usually in the same set. She collaborated often with guitarist Al Viola, who was a mainstay of the Sinatra band from 1955 to 1983. Viola. A legendary studio musician (that’s his mandolin work running through the movie “The Godfather”), Viola was fond of pointing out similarities between Chamberlain and Sinatra, whom he affectionately called “the old man.”
“Judy takes care of business and sings the hell out of a tune the way Sinatra did,” said Viola. “She can come out of nowhere and take the pickup on the song — no warning — and the band is instantly with her because she gives great signals. Like Sinatra, she’s always in the moment and never does anything the same way twice. Her timing and phrasing are impeccable. I love working with her, because I’m never bored.”
“Look at all these people, having the time of their lives,” Viola said to Judy one night from their perch on the bandstand.
“And you were here, cookie.”
When she’s not on the road, Judy entertains at North Texas venues, galas and corporate events.