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Judy Niemack

Vocal Coach

Judy Niemack

Throughout her career, Judy Niemack has accomplished a great deal as a singer, educator, lyricist, composer, and inspiration to younger jazz vocalists. Yet with all that she has done thus far, one gets the impression that the best is yet to come. "I love standards and have performed them all of my life but this is a new era and it is time to create new music," she says. "I'm open to all forms of vocal improv and I'm very interested in mastering the art of music and pushing the art form forward to new places."

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Judy gained experience singing in her church choir. She first heard jazz through her mother's Nancy Wilson records, and discovered that she could easily sing harmonies when she and her sister sang background vocals behind her brother, who played guitar and sang lead. As a child and as a teenager, she sang in a wide variety of settings including musical theatre, rock bands, with folk music groups, and in a jazz vocal quartet.

Judy studied classical singing but the turning point in her young career was when she met the great tenor-saxophonist Warne Marsh, who followed in the footsteps of his teacher pianist Lennie Tristano by becoming an important jazz educator. "I became Warne's first vocal student. He treated me like a horn player. He assigned me solos by Charlie Parker, Roy Eldridge and others to learn. I learned about improvising from him. He called it instant composition." Judy attended Pasadena City College where she had lessons with alto saxophonist Gary Foster, and studied classical singing at the New England Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute Of Music. When she returned to the Los Angeles area, she continued studying with Marsh and, after moving to New York in 1977, her first important gig was performing at the Village Vanguard for a week with Marsh. She made her recording debut, leading the first of her ten CDs, By Heart for the Sea Breeze label, which documented her association with the saxophonist.

"During that period, I was strictly an improviser, with no thought given to entertaining or paying attention to the audience. But eventually I started focusing on the lyrics, and how to communicate with them, and then I grew as a singer." Starting in the late 1970s, Judy became a talented composer, and a lyricist who wrote words to such pieces as Clifford Brown's "Daahoud," Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso," Bill Evans' "Interplay," Richie Powell's "Time" and Duke Jordan's "Jordu," and songs by the likes of Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Dexter Gordon, Gigi Gryce, Elmo Hope, Kenny Dorham, Curtis Fuller, Bob Brookmeyer, Idrees Sulieman, Richie Beirach, Don Grolnick, Steve Slagle, Mike Stern, Johnny Griffin and many others. One of the driving forces behind her writing is the desire to have lyrics that are more modern and relevant than many that are part of the famous but overly familiar songs of the 1930s and '40s.

Due to her beautiful voice, fearless improvising, impressive musicianship and versatility, Judy Niemack has since worked with many of the who's who of jazz including pianists Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Jim McNeely, Steve Kuhn, Kirk Lightsey and Kirk Nurock, saxophonists Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano and James Moody, the great harmonica player Toots Thielemans, flugelhornist Clark Terry, bassists Ray Drummond and Eddie Gomez, drummers Billy Higgins, Joey Baron, Billy Hart and Adam Nussbaum, the New York Voices, the WDR Big Band, and guitarist Jeanfrancois Prins, Judy's husband who has worked with her since 1992.

Judy Niemack starting teaching jazz singing and improvising in the late 1970s. She has since become one of the most influential educators in jazz, and a pioneer of vocal jazz education in Europe. She taught vocal jazz at the New School For Jazz, William Patterson University, Long Island University, and New York City College and has been part of the staff at the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp since 1990. After moving to Europe, she joined the jazz faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium in 1993, and two years later became the first Professor of Vocal Jazz in Germany. She also teaches at the Musikene Conservatory in San Sebastian, Spain, has taught at conservatories in Holland and Belgium, and leads workshops throughout Europe and the world.

"Our generation is probably the first to pass on information to younger singers willingly and very openly. What I love about teaching is being surrounded by music all day long, every day. I love being with singers and helping out younger vocalists, leading people onto the path towards where they want to go." Judy's vocal improvisation method book and CD "Hear It And Sing It! - Exploring Modal Jazz" was published by Second Floor Music in 2004, and her "Pro-Vocal Jazz Standards" was published by Hal Leonard in 2008.

As a performer, Judy has thus far recorded ten albums as a leader including her debut My Heart, Blue Bop (Freelance) with Cedar Walton, Long As You're Living (Freelance), Heart's Desire (Stash) which is a set of duets with pianist Kenny Barron, Straight Up (Freelance), duets with pianist Mal Waldron called Mingus, Monk and Mal (Freelance), Night And The Music (Freelance), About Time (Sony Jazz) with Lee Konitz and Jeanfrancois Prins, What's Going On (Temps), and Blue Nights (Blujazz) with Gary Bartz and Jim McNeely. She has also recorded an upcoming CD for Blujazz centering on Summer themes called "Sun Dance".

"Blue Nights shows off my mainstream traditional side. I recorded it to share a modern take on some of my favorite songs, which I have long loved. And my next CD, Sun Dance, celebrates my favorite season: Summer. Meanwhile I'm working on a recording for Artistshare, about singing something completely new; a project with all of my own lyrics." Judy Niemack looks forward to the future with optimism and enthusiasm. "I have a new book and CD coming out - "Exploring Blues", which includes performances not only by me, but also by Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy and Darmon Meader. I think it will help to raise the bar in vocal jazz education. In general, I hope to continue doing what I'm doing: performing, teaching, writing lyrics, working on new collaborations, and always creating new and interesting music."

Whatever the future holds, one can be certain that Judy Niemack's future projects will be inventive, stimulating and full of joyful surprises.

Arrangers - Vocal Jazz | Barbershop | Contemporary Christian | Gospel | Contemporary Pop | Choral

Arrangements (See list of Arrangements.)

Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.

Judy Niemack : Jazz Vocal Standards featuring Judy Niemack : Songbook & CD :  : 884088204181 : 1423453182 : 00740376

Judy Niemack : Jazz Vocal Standards featuring Judy Niemack

Review: Whether you're a karaoke singer or preparing for an audition, the Pro Vocal Series is for you. The book contains the lyrics, melody, and chord symbols for ten standards. The CD contains demos for listening, and separate backing tracks so you can sing along. The CD is playable on any CD Player, and it is also enhanced for PC and MAC computer users so you can adjust the recording to any pitch without changing the tempo.

Chapters: All Of Me, Bye Bye Blackbird, Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?), Lullaby Of Birdland, Misty, My Funny Valentine, One Note Samba (Samba De Uma Nota So), Teach Me Tonight, Wave, You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To

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8598b | Songbook & CD $20.95 | Solo Vocal Jazz Songbooks for Solo Female Voice

Judy Niemack : Hear It And Sing It! - Exploring Modal Jazz : Book & 1 CD :  : 073999974577 : 0634080997 : 00001001

Judy Niemack : Hear It And Sing It! - Exploring Modal Jazz

Review: This great book/CD pack is an effective and fun way to improve your vocal technique and internalize the basic scales used in jazz. Designed for jazz singers, students of improvisation or ear training, choir directors and teachers of vocal jazz, it's an enjoyable way to learn the modes thoroughly and discover their possibilities. The CD includes vocal warm-ups suitable for all levels, exercises in each mode of the major scale, rhythm section tracks without vocals for improvisation, and more. The book includes transcriptions of the warm-ups, a brief history of modal jazz, theory basics, the modes of the major scale, scat syllables, transcriptions of the modal workouts, and more.

Chapters: Warm-Ups, -"Mmm" - relaxing the jaw, -"Ooh" - developing resonance, -"Mmm-mee-ooh" - correct placement of the tone, -Rolled "R's" - bringing the tone forward, adding "ringing overtones", -Staccato arpeggios and legato sclaes - focusing on breathing and attack, -"La"-"lay"-"loo" - increasing the flexibilty and speed of tongue, -"Si-ah" - ear training, flexibility and range extension, The Creators of Modal Jazz, Theory Basics, -Intervals, -Building Chords, The Modes, Scat Syllables, -Pronunciation Guide for Scat Syllables, The Modal Workouts, -Ionian Tracks 8-14, -Dorian Tracks 15-21, -Phrygian Tracks 22-28, -Lydian Tracks 29-35, -Mixolydian Tracks 36-42, -Aeolian Tracks 43-49, -Locrian Tracks 50-56, Hear It and Sing It! In The Classroom

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6056b | Book & 1 CD $17.95 Vocal Jazz Instructional

Judy Niemack : Exploring the Blues : 01 Book & 2 CDs :  : 884088594459 : 1458412032 : 00230106

Judy Niemack : Exploring the Blues

Review: Hear It and Sing It! Exploring the Blues is an effective tool for learning to sing and improvise on blues. Designed for people who love to sing, as well as for students and teachers in vocal jazz programs, it includes a step-by-step approach to learning blues lyrics, forms, harmony, scales and improvisation, with a brand new repertoire of songs. Vocal examples followed by accompaniment-only tracks make learning easy and enjoyable. New songs include lyrics added to compositions by jazz greats Dexter Gordon (plus lyrics to his solo), Johnny Griffin, Gigi Gryce, Julian Priester and Norman Simmons as well as compositions by Judy Niemack and Sheila Jordan. The book includes: blues forms, scales and harmony; transcriptions of exercises and improvised solos; accurate lead sheets for 14 contemporary blues songs; examples of 12 different blues forms; scat syllables; blues riffs; "Voices in Blues" history chapter; Listening and repertoire suggestions. The CDs include: 14 songs and exercises sung by Judy Niemack, Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy and Darmon Meader; "Hear It and Sing It" blues warm-ups, riffs, scales and harmony; recordings of each song featuring vocal plus accompaniment-only; exciting accompaniment tracks by top New York City jazz musicians; and more.

Chapters: Getting Started with the Blues, A Shot of Blues Juice, The Lyric Form, Call and Response in Blues Lyrics, Learning to Improvise, Four Steps to Singing Blues Changes, Basic Blues Workout, Scales to Know, Blues Scale, Scat Syllables, Pronunciation Guise for Scat Syllables, Blues Riffs anf Riff Blues, Jamming with Darmon Meader, Minor Blues, Soloing on Minor Blues, Trading twos with Sheila Jordan, Jazz Blues Progessions, Singing the Changes, Jazz Blues Workout, Bird Blues, Guide Tones, Blues Scale on Standards, Blues wtih a Bridge, Vocalese Blues, Odd-Meter Blues, Chromatic Melody Blues, Simultaneous Improvising, Voice in Blue

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7818b | Book & 2 CDs $24.95 | Solo Blues Singing

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