What Judi Silvano has been able to accomplish thus far gives the appearance of multiple artists' careers strung together -- but it's all Judi. In fact, she's always got a new project ready to fly, oftentimes dovetailing and overlapping her previous efforts.
Born in Philadelphia, with a degree (in both Music and Dance) from Temple University, Judi made her way to New York City in 1976 where she launched her career as an improviser -- of dance at first. But jazz would not be far behind.
An alchemist of music and movement, her career as a choreographer and dancer led her straight to NYC's downtown music scene where her improvisational spirit could run free. It also steered her toward what would become a long-term collaboration with saxophonist Joe Lovano that began in 1980 and continues to this day.
Throughout the 80s, you could also find Judi on any given Monday night at the Village Vanguard where the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra held forth, soaking in the great charts of Thad Jones. Before long, Judi could sing along with all the lead trumpet parts. You can trace the roots of her unique horn-like approach to vocalizing directly to this experience.
To date, Judi Silvano has six recordings to her credit, including 1997's Vocalise on the Blue Note label. She's led multiple vocal groups from Voices of Juniper to Voices Together, won numerous awards and grants (Meet the Composer, New York State Council on the Arts), been named as one of the Top 10 Vocalists in Down Beat magazine three times, has held a post as a jazz journalist/columnist (All About Jazz) and has been the subject of an original composition ("Sketches for Silvano" by Lori Dobbins).
As a gifted educator with a great heart (that comment comes straight from her students), Ms. Silvano has passed on her knowledge and experience to a multitude of young musicians both privately and through her Vocal Improv workshops in NYC, and at such esteemed institutions as Banff International Center for the Arts and Rutgers University. As a progressive composer and arranger, Judi Silvano's work has been recognized by the industry in many ways, including taking First Prize in The Brooklyn Lager Band Search, with judging for the Search led by trumpeter Lester Bowie. Silvano dons the "Producer's Hat" quite often. Her most recent efforts are offered monthly at NYC's Cornelia Street Cafe, where her presentations featuring established and emerging vocalists have spanned a deliciously eclectic array of themes including: "A Tribute to Monk", "Sephardic Meets Jazz", "New Songs for Singers" (which included 14 singers presenting new repertoire), and with jazz journalist Lara Pellegrinelli, an evening of alternative lyrics to songs entitled "Strangers in the Night - An Evening of Uncommon Lyrics to the Great American Songbook".
The roster of musicians with whom Silvano has collaborated, performed, recorded and/or toured reads like a Who's Who of Jazz. A short list of these stellar artists includes Scott Lee, Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, Tom Rainey, Billy Drewes, Ratso Harris, Bill Frisell, Tim Hagans, Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Erik Friedlander, George Garzone, Al Foster, Manny Albam, Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, Mike Formanek, Gerry Hemmingway, Michael Abene, Rufus Reid, Ingrid Jensen, Dick Oatts and Newman Taylor Baker - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. She's performed at a multitude of festivals and concert houses around the globe, including the Montreal, Paris, London, Verona, Perugia, Istanbul and North Sea Jazz Festivals as well as the JVC Jazz Festival in NY.
Silvano's two latest recordings are both surprising and healing. The first, Sound Garden - Spirit Music (JSL Music, 2003) is the first in a series of CDs of music for yoga, meditation and massage Judi recorded playing an array of woodwinds and percussion as well as singing. The latter, Let Yourself Go (ZOHO Music, 2004) is a loving birthday gift to her mom of her favorite standards with little big band arrangements by Michael Abene.
You may have to stop and take a deep breath just from reading what Judi Silvano has accomplished to date - but she won't! Judi's ideas, spark, talent and enthusiasm know no limits. She's off and running again, bringing her abundant talents and tireless spirit to the next endeavor.