Judy Niemack: What’s Love?

Singer somewhat redolent of Sheila Jordan presents a programme ranging from Mel Tormé to Tina Turner, aided by Peter Bernstein and others


It is fair to say Judy Niemack is not a high-profile name within the jazz world and has unfairly remained a little under the radar for most of her career. Her singing training covered both the classical world and jazz, her prowess as an interpreter in both genres leading her to become an educator in both fields.

Although far from widely recorded, she has always been afforded support from name artists, including Cedar Walton many years ago. Now in her late 60s she can still tell a moving story, even if there are marginal cracks around the edges. She tends to operate in the same tonal area as Sheila Jordan and her phrasing is often reminiscent of that fine singer, without the inclination to improvise quite so readily.

There are no particular highlights here as she seems just as comfortable negotiating original tunes like Feelin’ It In Your Bones and Just When I Thought supplied by guitarist Peter Bernstein or the familiar melodies of For All We Know and Mel Tormé’s Born To Be Blue. The Tormé is handled with great awareness by Niemack, who rings out the very last from the lyrics.

Blues That Sooth My Soul, adorned by the singer’s own words, is another that grabs the ears but as already implied, this is a consistently good collection enhanced by a fine group of musicians. In passing Niemack should also be congratulated on her bravery in tackling Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It.

(1) Feelin’ It In Your Bones; Firefly; For All We Know; Catalyst; I’m Moving On; What’s Love Got To Do With It; Just When I Thought; With You; (2) Let Life Lead You; Blues That Soothe My Soul; I’ll Love Again; Born To Be Blue; Right Here, Right Now (48.17)
(1) Niemack (v); Peter Bernstein (g); Sullivan Fortner (p); Doug Weiss (b); Joe Farnsworth (d). New Jersey, 20-21 June 2021. (2) as (1) but add Eric Alexander (as).
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