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Carmichael, Judy

Carmichael, Judy

Carmichael, Judy American pianist; b. Pico Rivera, Calif., Nov. 27, 1952. Born into a musical family, she began to study piano at an early age. When her grandfather offered $50 to the first grandchild who could play “Maple Leaf Rag,” she taught herself the piece and collected the reward. While attending college at Cal State Fullerton, she took a part-time job playing ragtime piano on the Balboa Pavilion Queen Riverboat. Since she drew larger crowds than the regular pianist, she soon took over on a full-time basis. Because she was so consistently booked as a pianist, after two years of college, she dropped out, and at the age of 21, first heard Fats Waller’s recordings, and began to move from the ragtime style into stride. In 1977 she was hired to play stride piano at Disneyland. She made her first recording for the Progressive label in 1980 and moved on to N.Y. the following year. Bringing the freshness to the stride music that is so deeply ingrained in her soul, Carmichael plays beyond interpretation, with both authority and authenticity, almost as if she invented the musical style herself. She plays clubs, concert halls and festivals around the world. In addition to recording for Progressive/Statiras and other labels, she has recorded for her own label, C&D Productions.


Judy Carmichael..and Basie Called Her Stride (1983); Pearls (1993); Chops (1996).

—Susan K. Berlowitz

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