<Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Judy gained her early experience singing in her church choir from the age of 7. 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 on folk songs behind their brother. As a teenager, she sang in a wide variety of settings including musical theater, rock bands, bluegrass groups, madrigals and in a vocal jazz quartet.>
<Judy then studied classical singing and was encouraged to make it her focus, 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 just like I was a horn player, and assigned me solos by Charlie Parker, Roy Eldridge and Prez to learn. He taught me to improvise. He always called it instant composition.” Attending Pasadena City College, she had lessons with alto saxophonist Gary Foster, and later studied classical singing at New England Conservatory and Cleveland Institute Of Music.>
<On returning to the Los Angeles area, she continued her studies with Marsh and, after moving to New York in 1977 on his advice, her first important gig was a week at the Village Vanguard in his band. She made her recording debut featuring him and bassist Eddie Gomez, "By Heart", for the Sea Breeze label in 1978>.
<“During that period, I was strictly a vocal improviser, with little thought given to entertaining. But eventually I started to focus on the lyrics, and how to communicate, and I really grew as a singer.” Starting in the late 1970s, Judy began to a compose and to write lyrics. She became the lyricist for such pieces as Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud,” Thelonious Monk’s “Misterioso,” Bill Evans’ “Interplay,” Richie Powell’s “Time” and Duke Jordan’s “Jordu,” as well as songs by the likes of Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Dexter Gordon, Gigi Gryce, Kenny Dorham, Curtis Fuller, Bob Brookmeyer, Richie Beirach, Don Grolnick, Mike Stern, Johnny Griffin and others. One of the driving forces behind her writing is the desire to sing lyrics that are more relevant to life today than those of the standard repertoire of the 30s and 40s.>
<Due to her beautiful voice, fearless improvising, impressive musicianship and versatility, Judy Niemack has since sung with many of the "who’s who" of jazz, including guitarist Peter Bernstein, pianists Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Jim McNeely, Steve Kuhn, and Kirk Lightsey, 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 and Billy Hart, the New York Voices, and Danish Radio and WDR Big Bands.>
< As a performer, Judy has thus far recorded 15 albums as a leader including her debut By Heart (Seabreeze) with Warne Marsh, Blue Bop (Freelance) with Cedar Walton, Long As You’re Living (Freelance),with Joe Lovano, Heart’s Desire (Stash), a set of duets with pianist Kenny Barron, Straight Up (Freelance) with Kenny Werner, duets with pianist Mal Waldron, 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), Blue Nights (Blujazz) with Gary Bartz and Jim McNeely, In the Sun Dance (BluJazz), Listening to You (Sunnyside) with pianist Dan Tepfer, New York Stories, in 2018 with the Danish Radio Big band and Jim McNeely, in 2019, Sing Your Song with pianist Wolfgang Koehler, and in 2022, What's Love with a masterful band incuding Peter Bernstein, Sullivan Fortner, Doug Weiss and Joe Farnsworth.>
<Niemack starting teaching voice and improvisation in the late 1970's, and has become one of the most influential jazz educators and a pioneer of vocal jazz education in Europe. In the USA she's taught in NYC at New School, William Patterson University, Long Island University, and New York City College and was on the staff of the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp for 20 years.>
<After moving to Europe in 1992, she served on jazz faculties at the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium, and in Den Hague, Holland. In 1995 she became the first Professor of Vocal Jazz in Germany, leading the vocal department at the Jazz Institut Berlin until 2020. From 2002-2015, she was also Professor at Musikene in San Sebastian, Spain. She now lives in the USA and in Europe and gives concerts and masterclasses throughout the world.>
<"What I love about teaching is being surrounded by music all day long! Coaching younger vocalists and leading them on the path of self-expression through music is a joy.” Judy’s method books “Hear It And Sing It! – Exploring Modal Jazz”, 2004, and “Pro-Vocal Jazz Standards”, 2008, have been top-sellers since they were published. About her third book, Judy says, “Students need to hear great examples of blues singing, and to sing along. "Hear It And Sing It! –Exploring the Blues” includes performances by me, Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy and Darmon Meader, and singers are loving it. My next one is called "Singing in Tune!".>
<Judy Niemack looks forward to the future with optimism and enthusiasm, and plans to continue performing, teaching, writing lyrics, working on new collaborations, and creating new and interesting music. And whatever the future holds, one can be certain that her future projects will be inventive, stimulating and full of joyful surprises.>
>The Royal Conservatory of Den Hague, Holland, Fall, 2003
Insighoven Vocal Jazz Workshop, Germany, 2003
Munich Hochschule für Musik, Germany, 2003
Barcelona, ESMUC, 2003
Kuernbach Music Academy, 2004-2015
Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp, Illinois, USA, yearly 1989-2009
Minden Vocal Jazz Workshop, Germany, Fall, 2004
European Jazz Academy Heek, Germany, 2004, 2006, 2006, 2010
Second Floor Music Studio, New York City, yearly 2005-2012
Zarautz Jazz Festival, Zarautz, Spain, Summer 2005
Marciac, France, 2005
Königs Wusterhausen, Germany, 2005
Peter Herbolzheimer’s Bundes Jazz Orchestra, Germany, 1995-2010
International Association of Jazz Educators, NYC, 2006
Loerrach “Stimmen” Festival, 2006
Rhythmic Conservatory, Denmark, 2006
Jamey Aebersold Jazzwise Camp, London, 2006, 2007, 2008
Berklee School of Music, Boston, 2008
New England Conservatory, Boston, 2008
UCLA, Los Angeles, USA 2008
Kalgenfurt, Austria, 2009
Jazzinty Festival, Slovenia, yearly 2007-2012
Groningen, Nederlands, 2009
Helsingor, Denmark, 2009
Vaduz Liechtenstein, 2009, 2010, 2012
Poysdorf Jazz and Wine, Austria 2010, 2011
Cornish Institute, Seattle, Washington, USA 2011
Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2012
Montevideo, Uruguay, 2012
Jazz Educators Network, Atlanta, Georgia, 2013
Paris Conservatory CRR, 2013
Ireland, Sligo Jazz Festival 2014
NYC Second Floor Music Studio, yearly 2000-2015
Begues Jazz, Spain, 2016, 2017
Alhaurin, Spain Jazz Camp, March 2016
Jazz Camp Vaduz, Switzerland 2018
Loire Valley Summer Jazz, France, 2019
-“BY HEART" (feat. Warne MARSH, Eddie GOMEZ). SEABREEZE Rec. 1978
-“BLUE BOP" (feat. Cedar WALTON, Curtis FULLER, Ray DRUMMOND, Joey BARON). FREELANCE Rec. 1988
-“LONG AS YOU'RE LIVING" (feat. Joe LOVANO, Fred HERSCH, Billy HART). FREELANCE Rec. 1990
-“HEART'S DESIRE" duet with Kenny BARRON. STASH Rec. 1991
-“STRAIGHT UP" (feat. Toots THIELEMANS, Kenny WERNER, Adam NUSSBAUM, Mark FELDMAN, Jeanfrançois PRINS). FREELANCE Rec. 1993
-“MINGUS, MONK AND MAL" duet with Mal WALDRON. FREELANCE Rec1994
“... NIGHT AND THE MUSIC...” (feat. Jeanfrançois PRINS, Kenny WERNER, Ray DRUMMOND, Billy HART, Eric FRIEDLANDER). FREELANCE Records 1996
-“ABOUT TIME” (feat. Eddie GOMEZ, Jeanfrançois PRINS, Lee KONITZ, David FRIEDMAN, CAFE). SONY JAZZ,
-“WHAT’S GOING ON?” (featuring Peter HERBOLZHEIMER & Big Band Jazz Terrassa), TEMPS
-“BLUE NIGHTS” (feat. Gary BARTZ, Victor LEWIS, Jim MCNEELY, Don SICKLER, Dennis IRWIN), Blujazz
-“IN THE SUNDANCE” (feat. Bruno CASTELUCCI, Bruce BARTH, Rufus REID, Jeanfrançois PRINS)
-“LISTENING TO YOU” (duo with Dan TEPFER, piano), Sunnyside Records, 2016
-“NEW YORK STORIES” (feat. Jim MCNEELY and the Danish Radio Big Band), Sunnyside Records, 2018.
-“SING YOUR SONG” (feat. Wolfgang KOEHLER, piano), Contemplate Records, 2019
“WHAT’S LOVE?” (feat. Sullivan Fortner, Peter Bernstein), Sunnyside Records, 2022
As a guest:
"BEAUTY AND THE PRINCE" with Jeanfrançois PRINS (featuring Fred HERSCH, Hein van de GEYN, Bruno CASTELLUCCI). AMC 1993
"RHAPSODY" vol. 1. and vol. 2. with Lee KONITZ. PADDLE WHEEL, 1993
"THE OTHER SIDE OF WALTER BOEYKENS" Distr. by SONY 1994
-“HEAR IT AND SING IT! EXPLORING MODAL JAZZ”, (Second Floor Music, Dist. Hal Leonard, 2003)
-“PRO-VOCAL JAZZ STANDARDS, FEATURING JUDY NIEMACK” ”(Hal Leonard, 2006)
-“HEAR IT AND SING IT! EXPLORING THE BLUES”, (Second Floor Music, Dist. Hal Leonard, 2012)
-“HEAR IT AND SING IT! SINGING IN TUNE” to be released in 2023 (Second Floor Music, Dist. Hal Leonard, 2020)
The Critics on JUDY NIEMACK
"A JAZZ SINGER WITH A PERFECTLY GLORIOUS VOICE! "
Bob Harrington, New York Post
"She combines the best of both worlds; a cabaret singer's respect for the melody as written and a jazz singer's eagerness to have a go at it. "
Francis Davis,Village Voice
"...a musician's musician. Her creative odyssey provides a fascinating illustration of the high road to mastery that transcends the limitation of genre..."
K. Leander Williams, Down Beat
"...a most accomplished singer, displaying a relaxed, assured delivery; impeccable diction; dead-sure pitch; an inviting, slightly moist timbre; skill at scatting and melodic improvisation; and ability to communicate the message of the lyric."
Tex Wyndham, West Coast Rag
"...one of the most versatile and provocative singers.....with a keen jazz sensitivity."
John. S. Wilson, New York Times
"Good jazz singers bring their own special construction to each tune they sing. To this they add the skill of improvisation without destroying the meaning of the lyrics and, above all else, they sing in tune; OK, meet Judy Niemack-jazz singer!"
Barry McRae,Jazz Journal
"Vocalist Judy Niemack never veers from her path as she leads you through an ethereal labyrinth, exploring dark harmonies, classically-tinged jazz melodies and shifting rhythms...Her dynamically delivered three -octave vocals soar above superb accompaniment..."
Nancy Ann Lee, JazzTimes
"She puts over a tune with passion and singular phrasing. She slaloms with streamlined precision through tricky be-bop lines and changes. She twists, turns, scats, leaps and bounds with Olympian grace...displaying admirable control, balance and understatement...Classy."
G. Kalbacher, Hot House
"This lady can really sing!"
Norman Simmons, pianist for Joe Williams
"Exquisite intonation, tasteful interpretations and improvisations guided by a sensitivity for dynamics...."
Leslie Gourse, JazzTimes
"Her level of performance is extremely high...she endeavors both to get inside the lyrics and explore the chord structure, as do all true jazz singers."
Peter Gamble,Jazz Journal
"To my mind, Judy Niemack is one of the best, and purest jazz singers ever. Besides a voice with the clarity of a mountain stream, accuracy of pitch and time that is a wonder to hear, perfect diction and sensitivity to lyrics, she has a disciplined improvisational gift that makes her scat-sung lines music…”
S.Chamberlain,L.A. Jazz Scene
"You need have no reservations about Judy Niemack, a young veteran of the New York
club scene who epitomizes the term "jazz singer". Niemack's irrepressible swing, savvy scatting and dead-on intonation allow her to improvise solos that seem more horn than voice....her way with a lyric will warm the hearts of both romantics and musical adventurers as she tames tough jazz lines written for saxes, not singers.".
Neil Tesser, Playboy Jazz
"Judy has an inner sweetness to her voice....and a jazz edge. The combination is effective. She's musically sophisticated. She befriends the pulse and interacts with jazz musicians well. She draws from feelings and experiences, using melodies by jazz composers- some of them quite challenging- as her basis for creativity..."
Burt Korall, International Musician
"Niemack sings sprightly and thrillingly as an oriole, with a rich, firm tone and light vibrato...(she) scats better then nearly everyone; she's really one with the band.."
"Judy Niemack digs deeply into the innards of the compositional body eclectic and makes no detectable missteps; She crosses her Rubicon with the grace and confidence
of those who know just where the shallows are and, therefore, appear to walk on water...."
Alan Bargebuhr, Cadence
"Ms. Niemack has a gorgeous voice....she proved herself a worthy torch singer with "Body and Soul". Corpus Christi Caller
"Niemack has a beautiful voice and a wide range; she sounds wonderful..."
L.A. Jazz SCENE
"To hear Judy Niemack's immaculate delivery of poetic romance and lilting spirit from the classic American songbook is to believe she was weaned on it." Stuart Troup, New York Newsday
“a provocative improvisor, whether she is scatting or using lyrics, making good use of her sparkling high notes ......."
John Wilson, New York Times
"NIEMACK has her act together! She has a lustrous voice that can go very high and holds its pitch..."
R. Orgill, The Record