Grammy nominated pianist and vocalist Judy Carmichael will be celebrating her new book Great Inspirations: 22 Years of Jazz Inspired on NPR on Sunday, October 9th at 4:00 p.m. The champagne book party will take place at American Hotel in Sag Harbor.
Judy is looking forward to celebrating with those in attendance by talking about the book, playing some of her favorite tunes on American Hotel’s Steinway, and having great champagne and food with her guests.
She spoke about her newest book, her career in the music industry, and what those in attendance can expect.
Congratulations on your new book Great Inspirations! Can you tell us about it? What inspired you to write this book?
JC: Knowing that most people find jazz and the arts mysterious, starting in 1999 I decided to record conversations with fellow artists from all fields, using jazz as an entry point into a discussion on inspiration and creativity—essentially producing a podcast before podcasts existed. Great Inspirations, 22 Years of Jazz Inspired on NPR is a selection of some of the most inspiring of these conversations from my radio show/podcast, Jazz Inspired, with everyone from Glenn Close and Jon Batiste to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Willie Nelson. Introductions to each chapter reveal my challenging and often hilarious pursuit to find and entice guests onto the program. Corralling the super-famous can be an Everest climb, so I include these anecdotes to give further insight into the wacky world of celebrity creativity.
Would you tell us a bit about your musical background and career?
JC: I got my first job when I was 19 years old by playing one tune, “Maple Leaf Rag.” I learned more rags and got more musical work as I simultaneously pursued an acting career. Two years in, I heard a recording of Count Basie, which inspired me to go in that musical direction and to put all my energy into a jazz career. I left Los Angeles, moved to NYC, got a Grammy nomination, a feature on Entertainment Tonight, CBS Sunday Morning, and NPR, and my career took off.
How would you describe your musical style?
JC: I play swing music, songs from the 1930s and ‘40s, the repertoire of the Great American Songbook, and my own compositions in that style.
How does your approach to music and writing differ, and how is it similar?
JC: I like to think both are energetic, fresh, original, and shot through with a good dose of humor.
What inspiration do you find from the Hamptons?
JC: The beauty and the access to all my favorite sports. I’m a sports maniac and moving to Sag Harbor in 1992 gave me the opportunity to give in to that fully.
What’s your favorite pastime in the Hamptons?
JC: Tennis, tennis, and more tennis, with occasional forays to the beach or my favorite restaurants.
What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming champagne book celebration?
JC: I have a long relationship with the American Hotel. It’s a bit of a second home for me, and Ted Conklin, the owner, has been a supporter of my work since the mid 1980s when we first met. So I’m looking forward to celebrating this book with good friends and new acquaintances in that beautiful space. I’ll also play a couple of tunes on Ted’s great Steinway.
What can those in attendance expect from the event?
JC: Champagne, hors d’oeuvres, a couple of songs, and I’ll discuss the book.
How do you define success?
JC: Doing the work you love, with friends you love, while living in a place that you love.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists in any medium?
JC: Assess your talents accurately and go forth with courage.
To learn more about Judy, her newest book, and to purchase tickets for the event, visit https://www.judycarmichael.com.