Autographed copy of book.
Autographed copy of book.
"Judy Carmichael first made her name in the 1980s as a svelte, blonde bombshell who played stride piano—a virtuoso jazz style made famous in the ‘20s and ‘30s by Count Basie and Fats Waller. Jazz critic Gary Giddins commented, “How ironic that the last man standing is a woman, as this kind of playing was long considered the private, competitive domain of people who smoked cigars and wore derbies.”
Swinger! A Jazz Girl’s Adventures from Hollywood to Harlem is a collection of hilarious, moving autobiographical essays, in the David Sedaris tradition, about a California surfer-girl who dreamed of being a spy but instead became a beauty queen, an actress, a pool shark, a quarterback, and—eventually—a jazz musician.
Judy Carmichael welcomes us into her wacky, maddening, thrilling creative life—from Carnegie Hall to camels in Ephesus, to performing for Richard Gere, Rod Stewart and Robert Redford, to a three hour lunch with Billy Joel, hors d’oeuvres with Yoko Ono and the creation of her NPR show, Jazz Inspired.
Judy trudges through a Hawaiian rain forest with Sarah Vaughan, auditions as a rodeo rider, flirts with Mr. Big and gets a kiss from Paul Newman, and that’s before she gets to Brazil, where things get seriously interesting.
Swinger! is a humorous, candid account of the creative life, the pursuit of one’s dreams, of staying strong, and refusing to suffer. When, in her late forties, a doctor told Judy that he thought she had cervical cancer, she responded, “I’m a jazz musician, doctor. To tell you the truth, this isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“It is an honor to have played a small part in the Judy Carmichael story. She is a masterful storyteller with a stinging wit that will make you LOL. Judy is one of a kind and reading this book is like hearing stories told in an after hours piano bar when jazz musicians come to relax and enjoy life and laughter. Brava, Judy!!”
“Guts, sass, humor and a phenomenal stride pianist and terrific singer too! All this is Judy Carmichael and so much more. She knows how to beguile on stage and in the pages of this book, which you’ll lap up. This is her story, a brave young woman who rides the waves of her life with grace, spunk and resilience, even in choppy waters.”
“Judy’s personality leaps from the page; her humor, her vulnerability and her pain. This is a generous, entertaining autobiography by a wonderful jazz artist and courageous human being. I couldn’t put it down and I look forward to the sequel, if I’m still around.”
“Judy Carmichael’s page-turner of a memoir captures the thrills, laughs, perils, setbacks, and victories of a jazz life well-lived. It’s the story of a woman who has followed her heart on a nonstop roller-coaster ride around the globe, making exciting music and weathering plenty of blows—some of them life-threatening—while never forgetting to have as much fun as she possibly could. Swinger! is an inspiring, moving, and vastly entertaining read.”
“Judy Carmichael is an amazing combination of passion, pluck, and persistence, going against the common wisdom and all odds, where few have gone before. She didn’t just choose a musical niche for herself, she carved out a new one. She, and her story, are a joy and an inspiration.”
“The life of a jazz musician seems almost as fraught as climbing Mount Everest. Judy Carmichael’s adventures are hilarious and inspiring.”