Jacques has been recognised as one of Australia's most powerful and popular
jazz singers since she started as a teenager singing gospel in the 1960s. During
that period and for more than a decade, Judy was in great demand as an award winning
television performer. This began with contracts with GTV9, doing shows such as
I.M.T. and Bandstand to appearances on most commercial TV shows throughout Australia,
including ABC radio and ABC TV.
In 1975, after spending a year travelling
in Europe, Judy decided to look for other ways in which to express her music.
is one of the very few singers to emerge from the jazz/folk boom of the early
'60's and define a new phase in her musical career in Australia'.
Bruce Johnson The Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz.
'new phase' saw Judy broadening the depth and breath of her singing, both stylistically
and technically. She has sung traditional jazz, popular standards, daring improvisations,
blues and gospel, with bands as different as the Brian Brown Ensemble, Bob Sedergreen's
Blues on the Boil, The Yarra Yarra Reunion Band and her own Wild Dog Ensemble
and Lighthouse which performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1997. She continues
to sing Gospel with Margret RoadKnight and is a member of The New Angels of Soul.
Judy has collaborated with visual artists and poets, made and performed multi
media works 'Memory Theatre One', 'Menindee Wire' and 'Words are not my mother
tongue' for the Montsalvat Jazz, Montsalvat Poets Festivals, Women Improvising
Musicians Festival and the Composing Woman's Festival.
In music education,
Judy taught and lectured in the Improvisation Dept. Victorian College of the Arts
for five years. She also taught at Melbourne University, Presbyterian Ladies College,
Eltham College. She has been Artist in Residence at tertiary colleges throughout
Victoria. Her improvisation and gospel workshops are legendary. She examines for
the Board of Studies and in '99 she was a member of the judging panel, along with
Sheila Jordan, Kurt Elling and Tony Gould, for the Wangaratta Jazz Festival's
She was featured on ABC TV in half hour specials with
the Brian Brown Ensemble in 'Jazz as Now', the 'Burrows Collection' and the film
'New Dimensions' which was for general release.
In 1992 she was included
in the Montsalvat Jazz Roll of Honour.
Judy sang the lead roll in the
Brian Brown Opera 'The Winged Messenger' for the opening of the '94 Monsalvat
Jazz Festival. She has recorded with the Yarra Yarra New Orleans Band and the
Yarra Yarra Reunion Band. Her group in the sixties The Gospel Four recorded singles
for Astor records. Later recordings include The Brian Brown Ensemble, High Steppin'
with Bob Sedergreen, The Wild Dog Ensemble, with Ian Eccles-Smith and Sandro Donati
'The Moorabbin Tape', with Paul Shultze 'The Annihilating Angel' and in '97 her
Lighthouse CD 'Going for a song'.
Judy Jacques Ensemble is the latest
and most important phase of Judy's 'over forty year' journey. In this, she continues
to develop her ideas as a songwriter, as presented in her '97 Lighthouse CD 'Going
for a song'
This new ensemble performs an original repertoire that combines
elements of jazz, folk and gospel music with text, creating a unique and exciting
combination of musical and verbal imagery. Their music has been described as "songs
of journey, place and personal discovery that provide a powerful insight into
Australia's history and landscape" . It is impressionistic and passionate
with space for interaction, improvisation and has great appeal to audiences of
all ages especially those interested in World, Folk, Jazz and Contemporary music.
Many of the songs performed by the ensemble have been inspired by her visits
and ancestral connections to the islands of Bass Strait, between the mainland
and Tasmania. Last year, she spent four wintery months on Flinders Island writing
lyrics and music and giving singing and improvisation workshops for the island
community. Judy and her ensemble performed as part of the inaugural Flinders Island
'Wind Festival 2000'. A video was made of this performance by Mark Johnson.
This year, she received a 'New works' grant from the Music Fund of the Australia
Council to develop her compositions with the musicians of the ensemble in a studio
environment. The result of this work is her new CD Making Wings, which will be
released shortly. Joining Judy in this ensemble are Sandro Donati (trumpet/harmoniser),
Nicola Eveleigh (flutes/voice), Doug De Vries (acoustic guitar), Howard Cairns
(bass) Michael Jordan (drums) Denis Close (percussion) Tony Gould, Brian Brown
and Bob Sedergreen are featured guests on this album.
The ensemble performed
part of this work at 'The Melbourne International Jazz Festival' last year, which
was recorded by and broadcast on, ABC Radio National FM. This years' highlight
performances were 'The Apollo Bay Music Festival', Nillumbik Arts Festival', and
at Montsalvat in a concert for 'Save our ABC'
The Judy Jacques Ensemble
will perform the new program for the 'Melbourne International Jazz Festival' in
'strikingly beautiful and original...eloquently and powerfully Australian'
Sunday Herald Sun
...'singer and composer Jacques, is a pioneer in a field that blends antipodean
folk jazz, coloured slightly by just the hint of various world music's....this
music provides an experience that is bursting with life. A most intelligent and
Australian life it is too...'