Wednesday, February 28, 2018
All the Way
This is a rubato (purposely out of tempo) duet with the great guitarist Al Viola, who is on pretty much everything Frank Sinatra recorded for more than 25 years.
It’s from a 2005 live performance in Hollywood, two years before Al passed away.
Al is playing his beloved 1939 Gibson L5, arguably one of the most iconic guitars in the history of popular music.
He used this guitar on more than 500 studio recordings, including numerous movie soundtracks.
All the Way
Wise musicians know that a rest is actually a musical note — and great music, like a fine painting, prefers space in which to breathe.
Love and songs,
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
What is jazz?
I am asked this again and again.
The topic of jazz is especially confusing to anyone who takes Ken Burns seriously.
Burns, the author of the supposedly definitive book, “Jazz,” failed to mention such important historic jazz icons as Chet Baker, Bing Crosby and Mel Torme in his manuscript, which was later turned into a similarly exclusionary TV documentary series. And that’s just for starters.
He ridiculed Paul Whiteman, George Gershwin and Benny Goodman, all pioneers in bringing jazz to the mainstream in the early part of the 20th Century.
And what of Rogers & Hart, Kurt Weill, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and other composers who turned Broadway into the biggest stage jazz music has ever seen? Or Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Oscar Levant, who sang, danced and acted their way into the history books to the accompaniment of the greatest music ever written?
Or Kay Thompson, MGM’s vocal coach, who incorporated the idiom of jazz in her arrangements for movies like “Funny Face” and “Meet Me In St. Louis?”
And what of Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw and countless others – possibly mentioned in passing, but given short shrift.
Not important to Burns, evidently.
Burns even left out The Boswell Sisters,… Read the full story »
Monday, February 8, 2016
Lou Delmonico, one of the original founders of Southern California’s Orange County Performing Arts Center, celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday recently.
Lou sits on many arts-related boards; his love of opera and chorale music is legendary.
He’s also a great fan of classic jazz, the kind you can dance to.
Standards. Big band. He loves it all.
I was honored to have been part of the spectacular celebration Lou put on for his many friends and associates.
Lou flew me out from Dallas, with instructions to assemble the wonderful musicians I work with in California.
It was quite a band: Bill Cunliffe, Terry Harrington, Steve Wilkerson, Dean Koba, Kye Palmer, Ben May, Tony Campodinico, Barry Zweig.
Can you spell “G-R-A-M-M-Y?”
These folks have played on many Grammy award-winning albums, and have a few statues of their own.
It’s always great fun to work for Lou. He knows what he wants, which makes entertaining his guests a delight.
And, of course, I know a lot of the folks in his crowd. It was good to see them, too.
I think I sang for five hours.
And guys…there is never enough time.
You are the best musicians in the world, the pink cloud on which the musical dreams of this singer have floated effortlessly… Read the full story »
Tagged: American jazz bands, best dallas wedding band, best jazz bands, book live music, Dallas jazz bands, Dallas jazz singer, Grammy winning musicians, hire a jazz band, jazz bands in Dallas, Judy Chamberlain, live music for weddings, los angeles jazz bands, Lou Delmonico, orange county CA jazz bands, Performing Arts Center, texas jazz singer
Sunday, July 12, 2015
It’s been more than six years since we moved halfway across the country to our home in Dallas, TX.
In the thirty years we lived in California, a lot of things changed there — some for the better, and some not.
Texas is a far different place, and even more different from the locales of my childhood, New York City and Coastal Connecticut.
In all of these places, though, one can certainly become enveloped in a strong sense of community.
And never more so than here, today.
One night not long after we arrived in Texas, I went out with a friend for dinner.
Sitting at the bar, we were befriended by four people – two seated on either side of us.
From, of all places, California.
I mean, they were from exactly MY California — where I had lived and worked all those years.
They had just moved here.
When we “friended” each other on Facebook, we knew some people in common.
And not just ANY people, either.
I won’t name names, but they would be quite recognizable to almost anyone who watches TV, eats in restaurants or was a close friend of Frank Sinatra’s.
This sort of thing happens often to me in Texas. Before I changed my California vanity… Read the full story »
Thursday, June 11, 2015
The internet is loaded with stuff like this:
Fly Me To The Moon “by” Frank Sinatra.
Shame on you, Pandora.
Sinatra may have had the hit, but he didn’t write the song.
A guy named Bart Howard did.
To me, this is about as bad as looking at the Facebook page of one of New York City’s most venerable restaurants and finding a picture of colorful little French macarons with the title “MACAROONS.”
Probably one of those erroneous spell-checker “corrections”…but still.
As some of you may know, I was once a restaurant critic.
I wonder what New York Magazine’s Adam Platt makes of this sort of thing.
Psst…Adam, call me!
Judy can be reached at 972 261-8025
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Reflecting upon the state of jazz in the state of Texas, it’s alive and well.
A recent club date was big-time proof that the art of improvisation lives in the hearts, minds bodies and talents of some very fine young musicians here.
Was I dreaming, or did the magnificent sax player in my band have the breathy, full-bodied tone of Lester Young?
And the drummer, a master of brushwork – did I conjure him up from some sort of long-lost yearning? No, it was real, alright.
And there’s an audience for it, too.
A quiet, listening audience.
The audience listens to us, and we listen to each other.
All of it’s an art form – a skillful interaction of live, in-the-moment musical conversation that’s withstood the test of time to emerge better than ever.
This is how we keep the music playing, with the love and support of a community that understands culture.
Thank you, Dallas. I’m mighty proud to know you.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Might be that nobody really knows what jazz is anymore.
Some think it’s a dowdy antique, while others are certain it’s a marriage of rap and hip hop.
Neo-soul — and bastardized “funk” — are called “jazz” these days, too.
Oh, and “original music”…or maybe anything with a dominant, repetitive back beat.
More confusion exists in the form of the “can you dance to it” question.
Few remember that jazz was the (initially outlawed!) dance music of several generations – early and big band swing – until it turned a bop-ish corner circa 1949-1954 and became rock ‘n roll. Nobody stopped dancing to it then, either.
Eventually, the “artistic” bunch – Miles Davis, John Coltrane and the like – took jazz in yet another direction.
THAT was followed by a fall from popularity for what we once knew as jazz, as dance floors all over America declined.
It was mighty hard to compete with The Beatles and the rest of the British invasion.
At least we still had our Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller movies!
As the Twentieth Century progressed, the Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas – and many more – added production techniques to their recordings…. Read the full story »
Tagged: what is jazz
Monday, September 3, 2012
Dallas Morning News
Name a song, and she’ll sing it.
A huge repertoire testifies to singer Judy Chamberlain’s first love: jazz.
By JON M. GILBERTSON
Jazz singer Judy Chamberlain is a New York native, and up until about a year and a half ago, she lived in Los Angeles. Now she’s in Dallas with her husband and pretty happy to be here.
“It’s just a friendly, lovable place,” she said in a phone interview. “Everyone has reached out to me here and I’ve been so lovingly accepted by the jazz community and the audience, which I did not know would happen.”
Chamberlain must at least have known that her song list would pique the interest of even the most casual jazz fan. Her repertoire includes roughly 4,000 songs, from “Ain’t She Sweet” to “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart.” Even if this number were halved, it would testify to an incredible memory.
“If I hear it, I remember it,” Chamberlain says. “I have that audio recollection. It must be some kind of extra sense. And I’ve… Read the full story »
Friday, April 27, 2012
What makes a great band?
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Getting married in the Greater Los Angeles area? Orange County, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Palm Springs brides know how expensive it can be to rent a venue, provde a great meal and an open bar for your guests, arrange for lovely flowers, a great wedding photographer, fabulous wedding dress – and a king’s ransom of other gooda ans servces – out here in the Wild West.
The costs just keep mounting until planning a California wedding becomes painful – and you haven’t even been hit with the valet parking service’s fees yet!
Savvy brides also want to have live music for their weddings.
Well, of course they do!
Live music totally makes a wedding…but only if it’s done right (that means it’s about YOU, not about US).
Live music, you say – fairly tearing your hair out.
Before you decide to take most of the fun out of your wedding by plugging in an iPod, you may want to know why those party bands are so expensive.
First of all, they’re top-heavy. They need to have lots of people onstage in order to do a variety of music. They have backup singers who sing one or two songs each, and often the hardest working person up… Read the full story »