Judy Niemack

Night and the Music

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It is difficult not to be impressed by Judy Niemack, who has a very appealing voice with a wide range, the ability to express a wide range of emotions; plus, she swings, indulges in chance-taking improvisations, and writes her own lyrics to the melodies of jazz classics. On this well-conceived set, Niemack, who is joined by pianist Kenny Werner, bassist Ray Drummond, drummer Billy Hart, and sometimes guitarist Jean-Francois Prins (cellist Erik Friedlander sits in on one song), performs a wide range of material. After really stretching out on "You and the Night and the Music," she sings some humorous lyrics ("It's Over Now") to Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't" (listing all of the things her former boyfriend shouldn't bother doing because it's over), pays tribute to Monk on "A Crazy Song to Sing" (her words to "Misterioso"), sounds quite emotional on "Turn Out the Stars," revives "My Favorite Things," shows frustration on "You Belong to Her" (based on "Stolen Moments"), and infuses "What Is This Thing Called Love" with Lee Konitz's "Subconcious-Lee." In addition, Niemack performs a couple of her originals, sounds quite sad on "Goodbye," and is romantic on the closing "La Chanson des Vieux Amants." This unpredictable yet consistently satisfying set is a gem.

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