“In a world of pretenders, Carmen Lundy is a genuine Jazz Singer”
- The Evening Standard
Born November 1, 1954 in Miami, Florida, Carmen Lundy's path to being one of today's most talented, respected and sophisticated jazz singers began at age six, with her first piano lessons. Deeply inspired by her mother, Oveida, who was then lead singer in the gospel group The Apostolic Singers, Carmen joined her church's junior choir. A passion for music was instilled for life, and it was with total determination that young Carmen began her professional career performing at local high schools as part of the vocal duo “Steph and Tret.” It was soon after that she made her first recording, The Price Of Silence, while still in her teens.
Ms. Lundy attended The University Of Miami as an Opera major, but soon discovered that jazz was where her talent really shined. She later graduated with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz - one of the first singers to do so. After working steadily at jazz clubs in Miami and traveling to Europe and North Africa with the University of Miami Big Band in 1977, Lundy moved to New York City in the spring of '78. She immediately began working in jazz circles throughout the Tri-State area, and from Harlem to Greenwich Village, and quickly impressed the notoriously critical jazz cognoscenti and audiences alike. Esteemed critic Gary Giddins stated (in 1983), “Jazz singing stopped regenerating itself about 20 years ago, and it's not hard to see why, so it's with some trepidation that I call your attention to an authentic young jazz singer named Carmen Lundy - she's got it all.” Armed with a devoted following and critical kudos, the uncompromising Ms. Lundy continued to make waves, not just in North America, but in Asia and throughout the UK and Europe.
While Carmen Lundy has managed the near impossible by maintaining a three decade career with mostly self penned material, her 11th CD release, “Solamente” is a unique departure from her previous work. Everything about the new CD from Carmen Lundy comes directly from the heart. Renowned for her extraordinary vocal prowess and songwriting skill, Lundy moves far beyond our expectations, arranging, producing, recording, mixing and playing every instrument on Solamente.
Originally recorded to serve as reference demos of new compositions, the recordings so moved listeners that Lundy was persuaded to release them as they were, with every second, every note, a reflection of an artist at her creative peak.
With her previous release “Come Home”, Lundy confirmed once again that she is a true original in the world of Jazz singing and composition. “Come Home” is indeed a homecoming of sorts - infusing the blues and gospel roots of her childhood with those in the jazz genre in a stunning new set of original compositions.
Carmen Lundy began her professional career as a jazz vocalist and composer when there were very few young, gifted and aspiring jazz vocalists on the horizon. Three decades later, Ms. Lundy is celebrated throughout the world for her vocal artistry and is highly regarded for her jazz innovation. Her contribution of over 40 self-penned compositions now comprises the New Jazz Songbook.
Having recorded ten albums as a leader, Carmen has also performed and recorded with such musicians as brother and bassist Curtis Lundy, Ray Barretto, Kenny Barron, Bruce Hornsby, Mulgrew Miller, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kip Hanrahan, Courtney Pine, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Marian McPartland, Regina Carter, Steve Turre, Geri Allen, Robert Glasper and the late Kenny Kirkland. Ms. Lundy’s previous release, the critically acclaimed “Jazz and The New Songbook-Live at The Madrid”, features some of the jazz world’s best known musicians paying tribute to Ms. Lundy. Her first live recording, it finally and definitively captures her unique and electrifying on-stage performance, further expanding her recognition at home and abroad. Fortunately, the concert is documented on both DVD and 2-disc set, produced by Afrasia Productions, a label started by Carmen Lundy and well-known producer Elisabeth Oei.
Carmen Lundy’s work as a vocalist and composer has been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, as well as numerous foreign publications. As a composer, Ms. Lundy’s catalogue numbers over sixty published songs, one of the few jazz vocalists in history to accomplish such a distinction, and has led to the first publication of the Carmen Lundy Songbook (2007). Her songs have been recorded by such artists as Kenny Barron ("Quiet Times"), Ernie Watts ("At The End Of My Rope"), and Straight Ahead ("Never Gonna Let You Go").
Of course, they can also be found on her own recordings “Something To Believe In” and “This Is Carmen Lundy” (both for Justin Time), “Old Devil Moon” (JVC), “Self Portrait” (JVC), “Moment To Moment” (Arabesque/Afrasia Productions), “Night And Day” (CBS/SONY), “Good Morning Kiss” (CLR/Afrasia Productions), “Jazz and The New Songbook – Live at The Madrid” (2-disc set and DVD, Afrasia Productions), and her latest releases “Come Home” and “Solamente” (Afrasia Productions).
A native of Miami, Florida, Carmen Lundy's path to being one of today's most talented, respected and sophisticated jazz singers began at age six, with her first piano lessons. Deeply inspired by her mother, Oveida, who was then lead singer in the gospel group The Apostolic Singers, Carmen joined her church's junior choir. A passion for music was instilled for life, and it was with total determination that young Carmen began her professional career performing at local high schools as part of the vocal duo "Steph and Tret." It was soon after that she made her first recording, The Price Of Silence, while still in her teens.
Ms. Lundy attended The University Of Miami as an Opera major, but soon discovered that jazz was where her talent really shined. She later graduated with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz - one of the first singers to do so. After working steadily at jazz clubs in Miami and traveling to Europe and North Africa with the University of Miami Big Band in 1977, Lundy moved to New York City in the spring of '78. She immediately began working in jazz circles throughout the Tri-State area, and from Harlem to Greenwich Village, and quickly impressed the notoriously critical jazz cognoscenti and audiences alike. Esteemed critic Gary Giddins stated (in 1983), "Jazz singing stopped regenerating itself about 20 years ago, and it's not hard to see why, so it's with some trepidation that I call your attention to an authentic young jazz singer named Carmen Lundy - she's got it all." Armed with a devoted following and critical kudos, the uncompromising Ms. Lundy continued to make waves, not just in North America, but in Asia and throughout the UK and Europe.
Teaching, too, is an important activity for Ms Lundy; she's given Master Classes in Australia, Denmark, Russia, Japan, Switzerland, New York, Washington, D.C., Northern California, and Los Angeles. Since its inception in 1998, Lundy has and continues to participate in Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead Program at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as Resident Clinician and guest artist. She has also worked with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as guest artist and clinician.
Ms. Lundy is also a gifted actress active in theatre. "Acting," as she recently told Dr. Billy Taylor, "helps me to get more comfortable and acquainted with the art of performance." She performed the lead role as Billie Holiday in the Off-Off Broadway play "They Were All Gardenias" by Lawrence Holder, as well as the lead role in the Broadway show, Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies," and she made her television debut as the star of the CBS Pilot-Special "Shangri-La Plaza" in the role of Geneva, after which she relocated to Los Angeles, where she currently resides.
After signing to Justin Time in 2001, Ms. Lundy began work immediately on her label debut This Is Carmen Lundy, recorded in May of that same year and released in September. Entirely self-composed, the recording promptly garnered rave reviews from throughout the world, notably from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Far East.
In October 2002, Justin Time re-issued Lundy's much-sought-after 1985 debut album, Good Morning Kiss, with three previously unreleased alternate takes, and remixed and re-mastered using state-of-the-art technology.
The year 2003 began with a bang, when Miami-Dade's County Office Of The Mayor and Board of County Commissioners proclaimed January 25th "Carmen Lundy Day." Other notable events throughout 2003 included performances at Ronnie Scott's, London, for a two-week engagement; The Jazz Standard in New York City; The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles; and at Oakland's famed nightspot Yoshi's. Her triumph at Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, at Club Soda, was followed by a riveting performance (with Buster Williams, Geri Allen and Billy Hart) of Mary Lou's Mass at North Carolina's Duke University in Raleigh/Durham.
Something To Believe In, released in 2003, brought Carmen to her largest audience yet, while maintaining an integrity and dedication to excellence that has been uncompromising from the beginning. It's a record with a universal theme. From the self-penned opener, "In Love Again," to the last strains of the classic "Moody's Mood For Love," the record is a passionate paean to love - and to life's search for it. It features Carmen's core band of pianist Anthony Wonsey, bassist Curtis Lundy, and drummer Victor Lewis, with special guests, percussionist Mayra Casales, saxophonist Mark Shim and violin phenomenon Regina Carter.
Carmen Lundy is also a painter in oils on canvas, and her works have been exhibited in New York at The Jazz Gallery in Soho, at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and at a month-long exhibition at the Madrid Theatre, also in Los Angeles, where she currently resides.
To Visit Carmen Lundy's website CLICK HERE
SOJP's Celestial Dancer has written a review of a Carmen Lundy performance that she witnessed at Yoshi's in Oakland, California on June 17, 2011. Celestial also had a chance to speak with Carmen after her thrilling performance. To read the review and to listen to a Conversation with Carmen Lundy CLICK HERE
Eric Allan Dolphy was a jazz musician who played alto saxophone, flute and bass clarinet.
Born: July 20, 1928 | Died: July 29, 1964
Dolphy was one of several groundbreaking jazz alto players to rise to prominence in the 1960s. He was also the first important bass clarinet soloist in jazz, and among the earliest significant flute soloists; he is arguably the greatest jazz improviser on either instrument. On early recordings, he occasionally played traditional B-flat soprano clarinet. His improvisational style was characterized by a near volcanic flow of ideas, utilizing wide intervals based largely on the 12-tone scale, in addition to using an array of animal- like effects which almost made his instruments speak. Although Dolphy's work is sometimes classified as free jazz, his compositions and solos had a logic uncharacteristic of many other free jazz musicians of the day; even as such, he was definitively avant-garde. In the years after his death his music was more aptly described as being “too out to be in and too in to be out.”
Dolphy was born in Los Angeles and was educated at Los Angeles City College. He performed locally for several years, most notably as a member of the big band led by Roy Porter. Dolphy finally had his big break as a member of Chico Hamilton's quintet, with Hamilton he became known to a wider audience and was able to tour extensively through 1958, when he parted ways with Hamilton and moved to New York City.
Dolphy wasted little time upon settling in New York City, quickly forming several fruitful musical partnerships, the two most important ones being with jazz legends Charles Mingus and John Coltrane, musicians he'd known for several years. While his formal musical collaboration with Coltrane was short (less than a year between 1961-62), his association with Mingus continued intermittently from 1959 until Dolphy's death in 1964. Dolphy was held in the highest regard by both musicians - Mingus considered Dolphy to be his most talented interpreter and Coltrane thought him his only musical equal.
Coltrane had gained an audience and critical notice with Miles Davis's quintet. Although Coltrane's quintets with Dolphy (including the Village Vanguard and Africa/Brass sessions) are now legendary, they provoked Down Beat magazine to brand Coltrane and Dolphy's music as 'anti- jazz.' Coltrane later said of this criticism “they made it appear that we didn't even know the first thing about music (...) it hurt me to see (Dolphy) get hurt in this thing.”
The initial release of Coltrane's stay at the Vanguard selected three tracks, only one of which featured Dolphy. After being issued haphazardly over the next 30 years, a comprehensive box set featuring all of the recorded music from the Vanguard was released by Impulse! in 1997. The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings carried over 15 tracks featuring Dolphy on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, adding a new dimension to these already classic recordings. A later Pablo box set from Coltrane's European tours of the early 1960s collected more recordings with Dolphy for the buying public. During this period, Dolphy also played in a number of challenging settings, notably in key recordings by Ornette Coleman (Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation), Oliver Nelson (The Blues and the Abstract Truth) and George Russell (Ezz- thetic), but also with Gunther Schuller and Max Roach among others.
Dolphy's recording career as a leader began with the Prestige label. His association with the label spanned across 13 albums recorded from April 1960 to September 1961, though he was not the leader for all of the sessions. Prestige eventually released a nine-CD box set containing all of Dolphy's recorded output for the label.
Dolphy's first two albums as leader were Outward Bound and Out There. The first is more accessible and rooted in the style of bop than some later releases, but it still offered up challenging performances, which at least partly accounts for the record label's choice to include “out” in the title. Out There is closer to the third stream music which would also form part of Dolphy's legacy, and reminiscent also of the instrumentation of the Hamilton group with Ron Carter on cello. Far Cry was also recorded for Prestige in 1960 and represented his first pairing with trumpeter Booker Little, a like-minded spirit with whom he would go on to make a set of legendary live recordings (At the Five Spot) before Little's tragic death at the age of 23.
Dolphy would record several unaccompanied cuts on saxophone, which at the time had been done only by Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins before him. The album Far Crycontains one of his more memorable performances on the Gross-Lawrence standardTenderly on alto saxophone, but it was his subsequent tour of Europe that quickly set high standards for solo performance with his exhilarating bass clarinet renditions of Billie Holiday's God Bless The Child. Numerous recordings were made of live performances by Dolphy, and these have been issued by many sometimes dubious record labels, drifting in and out of print ever since. 20th century classical music also played a significant role in Dolphy's musical career, having performed and recorded Edgard Varèse's Density 21.5 for solo flute as well as other classical works, and participated heavily in the Third Stream efforts of the 1960s.
In July 1963, Dolphy and producer Alan Douglas arranged recording sessions for which his sidemen were among the leading emerging musicians of the day. The results were his Iron Man and Conversations LPs.
In 1964, Dolphy signed with the legendary Blue Note label and recorded Out to Lunch(once again, the label insisted on using “out” in the title). This album was deeply rooted in the avant garde, and Dolphy's solos are as dissonant and unpredictable as anything he ever recorded. Out to Lunch is often regarded not only as Dolphy's finest album, but also as one of the greatest jazz recordings ever made.
After Out to Lunch and an appearance as a sideman on Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, Dolphy left to tour Europe with Charles Mingus' sextet (one of Mingus' most underrated bands and without a doubt one of the most exciting) in early 1964. From there he intended to settle in Europe with his fiancée, who was working on the ballet scene in Paris. After leaving Mingus, he performed with and recorded a few sides with various European bands and was preparing to join Albert Ayler for a recording.
On the evening of June 28, 1964, Dolphy collapsed on the streets of Berlin and was brought to a hospital. The attending hospital physicians, who had no idea that Dolphy was a diabetic, thought that he (like so many other jazz musicians) had overdosed on drugs, so they left him to lie in a hospital bed until the “drugs” had run their course.
The notes to the Prestige nine-disc set say he “collapsed in his hotel room and when brought to the hospital he was diagnosed as being in a diabetic coma. After being administered a shot of insulin (apparently a type stronger than what was then available in the US) he lapsed into insulin shock and died.”
Dolphy would die the next day in a diabetic coma, leaving a short but tremendous legacy in the jazz world, which was immediately honored with his induction into the Down Beat magazine Hall of Fame that same year. Coltrane paid tribute to Dolphy in an interview: “Whatever I'd say would be an understatement. I can only say my life was made much better by knowing him. He was one of the greatest people I've ever known, as a man, a friend, and a musician.”
Dolphy's musical presence was deeply influential to a who's who of young jazz musicians who would become legends in their own right. Dolphy worked intermittently with Ron Carter and Freddie Hubbard throughout his career, and in later years he hired Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson and Woody Shaw at various times to work in his live and studio bands.Out to Lunch featured yet another young lion who had just begun working with Dolphy in drummer Tony Williams, just as his participation on the Point of Departure session brought his influence into contact with up and coming tenor man Joe Henderson. Carter, Hancock and Williams would go on to become one of the quintessential avant-garde rhythm sections of the decade, both together on their own albums and as the backbone of the second great quintet of Miles Davis. This part of the second great quintet is an ironic footnote for Davis, who was not fond of Dolphy's music yet absorbed a rhythm section who had all worked under Dolphy and created a band whose brand of “out” was unsurprisingly very similar to Dolphy's.
In addition, his work with jazz and rock producer Alan Douglas allowed Dolphy's unique brand of musical expression to posthumously spread to musicians in the jazz fusion and rock environments, most notably with artists John McLaughlin and Jimi Hendrix. Frank Zappa, an eclectic performer who drew some of his inspiration from jazz music, paid tribute to Dolphy's style in the instrumental The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue.
This week’s featured artist has been a world-renowned jazz, rhythm and blues, and pop singer for more than 50 years. Fashionable and poised, with a voice that both soothes and seduces an audience, Wilson prefers to call herself a "song stylist" who ranges freely through several musical idioms.Nancy Wilson first found her voice singing in church choirs, but found her love of jazz in her father's record collection. It included albums by Jimmy Scott, Nat "King" Cole, Billy Eckstine, Dinah Washington, and Ruth Brown; this generation of vocalists had a profound influence on Wilson's singing style. She began performing on the Columbus, Ohio, club circuit while still in high school, and in 1956 she became a member of Rusty Bryant's Carolyn Club Band.
She also sat in with various performers, such as Cannonball Adderley, who suggested that she come to New York. When Wilson took his advice, her distinctive voice enchanted a representative from Capitol Records and she was signed in 1959. In the years that followed, Wilson recorded 37 original albums for the label. Her first hit, "Guess Who I Saw Today," came in 1961. One year later, a collaborative album with Adderley solidified her standing in the jazz community and provided the foundation for her growing fame and career. During her years with Capitol, she was second in sales only to the Beatles, surpassing Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, and even Nat "King" Cole.
Wilson also has worked in television, where in 1968 she won an Emmy Award for her NBC series, The Nancy Wilson Show. She has performed on The Andy Williams Show and The Carol Burnett Showand has appeared in series such as Hawaii Five-O, The Cosby Show, Moesha, and The Parkers.
Although she often has crossed over to pop and rhythmand- blues recordings, she still is best known for her jazz performances. In the 1980s, she returned to jazz with a series of performances with such jazz greats as Art Farmer, Benny Golson, and Hank Jones. And to start the new century, Wilson teamed with pianist Ramsey Lewis for a pair of highly regarded recordings.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including two Grammy Awards and honorary degrees from Berklee School of Music and Central State University in Ohio. Wilson also hosted NPR's Jazz Profiles, a weekly documentary series, from 1986 to 2005.
Clay Corley Sr.
My name is Clayton E. Corley, Sr. aka Big Trigger host and producer of an award winning internet program!