Judy Niemack is in town! Throwing workshops, masterclasses and a concert. It’s always a joy to see a fab jazz singer in action.
The elegant red locked chanteuse certainly knows her stuff. She’s a master of improvisation. Skillfully, she dives into the harmony of great American songs. Be it bebop, be it hard bop, be it old school blues.
She superbly controls her instrument – knows where to take us with a sigh, a growl or a big smile. Solid in Estill Voice Training, her light and flexible timbre certainly carries a tune, so you always feel safe with her.
And she’s an encouraging and accomplished coach. Traveling between NYC and Berlin, she teaches at the Berlin Jazz Institute and instantly knows how to help you with some tips or examples. She has written some very insightful books on improvisation.
Besides that, she recently released an album with the Danish Radio Big Band: New York Stories – on which she sings about her experiences of living in the jazz capital of the world.
During one of her shows she told us that in 30 minutes of divine inspiration, she wrote lyrics to Monk’s 1958 instrumental tune Misterioso.
You could almost see her sitting in that downtown NYC cafe, at a table near the window, with a hot latte, swiftly writing, associating & crystallizing.
Quick, quick, quick. Get those words. Before they vanish into thin air.
Yaay! There they were. Her lyrics to that tune. An ode to composer Thelonious Monk. Witty, cheerful and educational.
You may wonder… How can I get there too?
How to find YOUR lyrics to an existing jazz tune or solo? How to make vocalese an ingredient of your daily life?
I’d say, take these 4 steps:
There’s only one way to go. It all starts with listening. Listen to lots of instrumental tunes. To solos. And listen to great writers such as Judy Niemack, Jon Hendricks or Bob Dorough.
Find a song or solo of which you love the melody.
2. Central theme
Find a central theme for your lyrics. (Love? Or… Music? Or… Food? Or… Cats & Dogs? Or… Politics? Or…. )
Associate away. Find words that rhyme. Online you can find rhyming dictionaries that may spark your imagination – check out Rhymezone or Rhymer for funny twists and turns.
4. Practice, paste, kill your darlings
You know, you have to keep polishing – practice makes perfect, isn’t that how they say it?
I’d love to hear your newfound lyrics. Have a ball!
My album tip for you:
Judy Niemack – New York Stories, Sunnyside Records, 2018