One of the deepest relationships in jazz blossomed on the West Coast in the 1950s, when singer June Christy and arranger Pete Rugolo combined their gifts on numerous albums. Christy supplied the voice and the heart, which Rugolo set off to perfection with exquisite, often surprising arrangements. The deep understanding between the two artists was particularly evident in their choice of songs; both had an eye for the unusual and the neglected, as well as lyrics that conveyed emotions of a more complex hue. This legendary synergy is mirrored in the modern-day relationship between West Coast singer Judy ...read more
Vocalist Judy Wexler has already garnered much attention among the All About Jazz family of critics, having been covered by the likes of colleagues Dan Bilawsky and Nicholas F. Mondello. They both remark on the breadth of Wexler's repertoire, which is impressive. Rather than browbeating us with one more collection of songs inhabiting Scott Yanow's moratorium list from his 2008 compendium, The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide (Backbeat Books), Wexler seeks out less heard songs to nudge to the forefront for attention. Wexler's support is top drawer. Longtime collaborator, pianist Jeff Colella arranges the eleven pieces, giving ...read more
When they excavated the world-famous La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, scientists discovered an other-worldly array of fossilized treasures. Who would have thought that, millennia ago, in the middle of Tinseltown, saber-toothed tigers and mammoths were sashaying down Rodeo Drive? In an analogous way, What I See from Judy Wexler yields surprisingly terrific finds, primarily from material that has been available right in front but overlooked. A very fine vocal talent also surfaces.With this, her fourth CD, Wexler grabs a handful of these pieces and performs them--with the help of some of L.A.'s finest First-Callers-- with esprit, ...read more
Vocalist Judy Wexler is more than a mere singer of songs. She's an actress, mood painter, song archaeologist and vocalist par excellence, and those designations shouldn't be taken as independent virtues; they all merge in her marvelous musical pursuits. When I See is Wexler's fourth album, but it only took two--Easy On The Heart (Jazzopolis, 2005) and Dreams & Shadows (Jazzed Media, 2008)-- to establish her as one of the most highly respected vocal artists on the West Coast. She furthered her sterling reputation with the all-encompassing Under A Painted Sky (Jazzed Media, 2011), and she's likely ...read more
Few singers would dare dive into music associated with Johnny Mathis, Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln and the 1962 film, The Music Man, on the same album; even fewer would be able to pull it off as vocalist Judy Wexler does on Under A Painted Sky. Wexler possesses a voice for the ages, and puts it to good use on a dozen delicious numbers that cover myriad moods and spotlight the stellar instrumentalists in her band. Wexler's prior releases--Easy On The Heart (Rhombus, 2005) and Dreams And Shadows (Jazzed Media, 2008)-- were elevated by classy arrangements and pianistic ...read more
Vocalist Judy Wexler has a multifaceted background, including performing in a theater collective, appearing on the TV show Frasier, and studying psychology. Wexler has been involved with jazz throughout her life, including years of studying the piano, but after her mother's death in 1999 Wexler decided to take the plunge and start performing. And thank goodness she did: Wexler is a breath of fresh air, a clear, clean voice that imbues life into every song she enters. In 2005 Wexler received strong reviews for her first CD, Easy on the Heart, and now her follow-up is garnering ...read more
Blessed to have an ocean's share of jazz singers on board, California remains home to some of the best. When Judy Wexler studied classical piano and then theater, the seeds of jazz had already been sown into her psyche. It was a natural progression: partly because she lived just a block up from San Francisco's legendary Keystone Korner, and partly because the skills that she'd already mastered blend so well into jazz singing.
Along with a crew of Southern California jazz stalwarts, Wexler applies her golden-throated soprano voice to this program of melodies with aplomb. Her vocalese marries ...read more