In The News
Dallas Country Music Jazz Band
by Judy Chamberlain
October 9, 2011
It’s been a strange and wondrous journey from New York, Connecticut, Louisiana and California to North Texas for this mid-century minimalist jazz crooner of a New York City girl.
Musicians who work with me have to be masters at playing the wacky stuff I love to perform — as in “who knows what she’ll do next?”
And listen, I love country music. Always have.
It’s all swing to me.
In Hollywood, as the “gatekeeper” for some pretty dazzling venues where I both booked the talent and performed with my own band for several decades, I was accustomed to criticism of the green-tinged variety from aspiring junior birdman self-appointed “jazz singers.” As in: “she’s a jazz singer and she sings songs like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry?”
Well, yes. Yes I do.
I’ve never wanted to be like anyone else, and my nerdy tunesmith’s repertoire has helped me make it through the night (thank you, Kris Kristofferson) in all sorts of wacky musical situations. And, just for the record, nobody is a jazz singer unless someone else calls them one.
So here I am in Dallas, and I’ve found the small handful of musicians who aren’t locked into reading from a fake book. Like me, they’re classically-trained jazz musicians with rock & roll souls and a big band sensibility. There aren’t many of these cats left anymore, not here. Not anywhere.
Crazy, huh? (Bless you, Willie Nelson.) This is jazz of the straight-ahead variety and, really, it can be anything we want it to be. Just ask Willie — or Papa John Phillips, who was a major jazz guy at heart and created some of the best pop music anyone has ever heard. Might have to wait awhile on that one, come to think of it. I did his last wedding, in Palm Springs. He was a wonderful character, and enjoyed jazz so much that he named his daughter, Bijoux, after a Lambert Hendricks and Ross song.
John taught me how to sing the plaintive jazz ballad “Something Cool;” played it for me on his 12-string and sang it very beautifully, with exquisite phrasing. That was many years ago, and if I hadn’t been a jazz singer before that, I became one that night. He would have enjoyed hearing how the variety of my repertoire has evolved.
And he would have loved the talents of the stunning musicians I’ve found here.
Join us as we “Waltz Across Texas,” coming soon to a venue near you.
Judy can be reached a 972 261-8025.