Jazz From the Undercroft: Judy Carmichael Returns to Taft

Taft kicks off its Music for a While concert series Friday, October 12 at 7 pm with Jazz Pianist Judy Carmichael. The event is free and open to the public. 

Judy Carmichael is considered one of the world’s leading interpreters of stride piano and swing. In stride, a jazz piano style developed primarily in Harlem during the 1920s and 1930s, the right hand typically plays the melody, while the left hand plays a single bass note or octave on the strong beat and a chord on the weak beat. When compared with ragtime, stride players visit a wider range of tempos with a greater emphasis on improvisation. Notably, Count Basie, himself, nicknamed Carmichael “Stride," in deference to her technical and artistic command of the style. The New York Times called her performances “astounding, flawless, and captivating.”

Carmichael is one of a handful of musicians who approach jazz from a perspective of its entire history. On Two Handed Stride, her Grammy-nominated recording, Carmichael worked with four giants of jazz from the Count Basie Orchestra: Red Callendar, Harold Jones, Freddie Green, and Marshall Royal. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a major grant to present early jazz greats on film, and to discuss the history and development of jazz piano with college students across the country. She is currently celebrating her 18th year producing and hosting her Public Radio Show Judy Carmichael’s Jazz Inspired, broadcast on over 170 stations throughout North America and abroad. 

Carmichael will perform in the Undercroft of Taft’s Woodward Chapel, 25 The Green, Watertown, CT, Friday, October 12 at 7 pm. Tickets are not required. Guests are invited to bring their own beverages to this cabaret-style event; set-ups and snacks will be provided. For more information, visit taftschool.org/concerts, or call the box office at 860-945-7898.

photos courtesy judycarmichael.com