|Aside from being a respected jazz singer herself, Judy Chamberlain is responsible for the musical zest at both Spazio and The Biltmore, and if you read the reviews lately, you’ll see that she’s got both places swinging.While booking talent at those venues is fun work for Chamberlain, her bread and butter is in the private events she does with Judy Chamberlain Orchestras & Entertainment; that’s where she brings out a complete roster of top-notch musicians, and they slip into some cool jazz, swing, or big band.|
Music Connection: What nights do you book, and which are best for local and emerging artists?
Judy Chamberlain: Spazio has jazz every night and twice on Sundays — in the evening and for brunch. The main night for jazz at The Biltmore is Saturdays, but we do other things there, as well. I also book concerts and private events. I tend to like Sunday nights. People are relaxed and might be willing to listen to someone they have never heard of while enjoying the ambiance of an established room. There’s not so much pressure for the artist on a Sunday, too. But I have booked unknown artists on other nights. I prefer the word "unknown" to "emerging." Spazio is not a place for beginners.
MC: What’s the state of jazz in L.A., and what can make it better?
Chamberlain: Oh, I think it’s excellent! There is lots of interest here in live music, and top-notch jazz is certainly the height of the art. Good music is in demand again and establishments see it as an enhanced value for attracting customers. It’s the best way I know to bring publicity to a place and consistently add to its goodwill and customer base.
In a perfect world, the record labels would grow up and take more responsibility — and a more long-term position — and consider giving the public what it really wants. Labels are so youth oriented that they’ve forgotten to offer the marketplace the diversification of a richly textured art form — jazz music.
MC: What’s the first thing you notice about an artist?
Chamberlain: I’m the Sherlock Holmes of jazz. If an artist comes in to do the job, gets the job done and behaves professionally, I am usually satisfied. If he works the room for customers to take to his next gig down the street, tries to seduce the hostess or loudly complains that he’s way too good for the place, he will have made an even greater impression.
MC: What is the best way for a local artist to approach you?
Chamberlain: Straightforwardly. I have a huge B.S. meter. It is important for artists to understand that the needs of the club come first. A simple, informative e-mail is the best way to begin a dialogue with me.
MC: Where do you want people to send packages?Chamberlain: I respond to e-mails. A word of advice: when sending packages, artists should be careful to make the package easy to receive (not with signature required so the recipient has to chase it all over town if they were out when the mailman came), easy to open and easy to deal with. Less is more. And anyone who is sending out a package should seal an envelope and then tear it open to test the results. If it deposits sneeze-provoking clouds of reconstituted brown lint all over your living room floor, kindly don’t send one to me.