Deborah Brown has traveled extensively throughout the world performing in the finest jazz venues and concert halls. Originally from Kansas City, her singing has taken her from Moscow to Amsterdam, to Stockholm as well as London's Ronnie Scotts. Her career started in Kansas City and grew to include places from Los Angeles to Atlanta and beyond 50 states throughout her career. Performing with her own ensembles and with jazz legends like Johnny Griffin, Clark Terry, Ed Thigpen and Horace Parlan. Singing with Jimmy Heath and Roy Hargrove to Joe Lovano, Bobby Watson and Terell Stafford, she has been accepted as one of the jazz legends herself. She was on staff at the prestigious conservatory in Hilversum, now known as the conservatory of Amsterdam and has been a guest throughout the states at various universities. She is now teaching at the prestigious program “New York comes to Groningen” in the Netherlands. All teachers are coming from New York to the Prins Claus Conservatory to share their professional techniques in the art of jazz. Also a guest artists in various universities such as, The University of Greely Colorado, Middle Tennesee State College, Sinclaire Community College in Dayton, Ohio and East Washington State University as well as others. Committed to teaching and performing the jazz repertoire to the highest degree, Mrs. Brown has dedicated her energies to performing and sharing her skills around the world with great success. She always invites the audience to enjoy themselves.
Jazz vocalists and educator
Recognized in both the jazz vocal and instrumental worlds, Darmon Meader is a highly respected vocalist, arranger and saxophonist. Darmon has achieved international recognition as the founder, musical director, chief arranger, composer, producer, saxophonist, and vocalist with New York Voices. As a member of New York Voices, he has released numerous recordings on the GRP, RCA/Victor, Concord and MCGJazz labels. Most recent NYV projects include their long awaited Christmas CD “Let It Snow” (Five Cent Records) and the high energy live collaborative CD “New York Voices, Live with the WDR Big Band” (Palmetto Records), both released in 2013. In addition to Darmon’s vocal and sax performances, both recordings feature his exemplary vocal arrangements, and the Christmas project features Darmon’s extensive orchestration skills. In the fall of 2007, New York Voices released their long-awaited MCGJazz release "A Day Like This," and in January of 2008, Darmon released his much anticipated debut solo CD, And So Am I. Darmon's solo project is a collection of jazz standards and original works, which reflects his varied interests and skills as a singer, saxophonist, writer and arranger. Although the entire project is steeped in the jazz tradition, the CD includes a wide variety of styles, orchestration approaches and concepts.
In 2015, Darmon joined forces with Amy London, Holli Ross and Dylan Pramuk on the critically acclaimed “Royal Bopsters Project” CD (Motéma), which is a nod to the vocalese tradition. In addition to the quartet’s lush group sound, the recording features legendary vocalists Mark Murphy, Annie Ross, Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan and Bob Dorough, and includes a number of Darmon’s arrangements. Allen Morrison (Downbeat) wrote: “Extraordinary...The Royal Bopsters Project vividly makes the case for a revival of the art of vocalese.”
With New York Voices, Darmon has collaborated with a variety of artists including Ray Brown, Bernadette Peters, Don Sebesky, Nancy Wilson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jim Hall, Paquito D'Rivera, Ivan Lins and the Count Basie Orchestra. He has toured internationally, performing at such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival and Blue Note Jazz Clubs (New York and Japan). In addition to Darmon's NYV touring and recording commitments, he is increasingly busy as a soloist, sideman, studio musician and composer.
In addition, Darmon is actively involved in music education, working as a clinician and guest artist at both the high school and university levels. Darmon is currently a member of the Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music Jazz Vocal department, and from 2009 to 2013, he was a member of the Manhattan School of Music jazz faculty. He has been the guest conductor for numerous All-State Jazz Ensembles including New York, California, Colorado, Arizona, Illinois and New Jersey, and has made artist-in-residence appearances at numerous schools, including Northwestern University, University of Louisville, American River College, Humber College and University of Georgia. Darmon has also taught at numerous domestic and international music workshops including the Inzigkoven Vocal Jazz Workshop in Germany, various IAJE Teacher's
Training Institutes, and the annual New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camps (US and Europe). Many of Darmon’s choral, vocal jazz, and instrumental arrangements are available through the following publishers: Carl Fischer Music, Shawnee Press, Hal Leonard, Edition Ferrimontana, Alfred Music, Belwin Mills and UNC JazzPress.
jazz vocalist, saxophonist, composer, arranger and jazz educator
Farah Jasmine Griffin
Farah Jasmine Griffin is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University. Professor Griffin received her B.A. from Harvard, where she majored in American History and Literature and her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale. Her major fields of interest are American and African American literature, music, and history. She has published widely on issues of race and gender, feminism and cultural politics. Griffin is the author of Who Set You Flowin?: The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995), If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001) and co-author, with Salim Washington, of Clawing At the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever (Thomas Dunne, 2008). Her most recent book is Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II, published by Basic Books in 2013.
Griffin collaborated with composer, pianist, Geri Allen and director, actor S. Epatha Merkerson on two theatrical projects, for which she wrote the book: The first, “Geri Allen and Friends Celebrate the Great Jazz Women of the Apollo,” with Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves, Teri Lyne Carrington and others, premiered on the main stage of the Apollo Theater in May of 2013. The second, “A Conversation with Mary Lou” featuring vocalist Carmen Lundy, premiered at Harlem Stage in March 2014 and was performed at The John F. Kennedy Center in May of 2016.
Griffin’s essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian, Harper's Bazaar, Art Forum and numerous other publications. She is also a frequent radio commentator on political and cultural issues.
Farah Jasmine Griffin
Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, the author of the books: If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday, Clawing at the Limits of Cool Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever, Harlem Nocturne
Born in Pasadena, California, vocalist and jazz educator, Judy NIEMACK moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue her dream of becoming a professional jazz vocalist. Having pursued classical voice studies at New England Conservatory, she then spent 6 years in intensive studies of improvisation with saxophonist Warne Marsh , with whom she made her NYC debut in 1978 at the Village Vanguard. After several years of study, gigs (and waitressing), she succeeded, performing in New York, the USA and eventually around the world. One of the first jazz singers to use her voice as an instrumentalist uses an instrument, she loves the standard repertoire as well as improvising. Judy moved to Europe in 1995, when she became Germany's first Professor of Vocal Jazz at the Jazz Institut Berlin. In 2003 she became Professor of Voice at Musikene in San Sebastian, Spain, and concurrently led the jazz vocal department there for 13 years. She now splits her time between New York and Berlin, leading the vocal department at the JIB and travelling for concerts and masterclasses. With a dual career as a performer and educator, she’s fortunate and grateful to be in the middle of music every day, either singing or teaching others to sing. Judy’s 12th CD, “Listening to You”, was released on Sunnyside Records April 1, 2017. In 2018, new releases will include ”I’m All Smiles” duo Wolfgang Koehler, and “New Standards" with the Danish Radio Big Band, plus her fourth vocal jazz method book, “In Tune : workouts for the Jazz-Pop Vocalist”. She's a lyricist for over 100 previously instrumental songs, including compositions by Bill Evan, Thelonious Monk, Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Clifford Brown and Kenny Dorham. Judy will share her inspirations and methods for lyric writing in this year’s INTERNATIONAL JAZZ VOICE CONFERENCE.
"You sing like an angel, or at least like an angel who’s heard Basie and Miles: you’ve got intonation that whole choruses would kill for, and a voice that never loses its soft sheen even at hot tempos and high volume."
Neil Tesser, Downbeat