Photo © Mark Hanauer
Carmen Lundy began her professional career as a jazz vocalist and composer when there were very few young, gifted and aspiring jazz vocalists on the horizon. Three decades later, Ms. Lundy is celebrated throughout the world for her vocal artistry and is highly regarded for her jazz innovation. Her contribution of over 60 self-penned compositions now comprises the New Jazz Songbook.
Having recorded twelve albums as a leader, Carmen has also performed and recorded with such musicians as brother and bassist Curtis Lundy, Ray Barretto, Kenny Barron, Bruce Hornsby, Mulgrew Miller, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kip Hanrahan, Courtney Pine, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Marian McPartland, Regina Carter, Steve Turre, Geri Allen, Robert Glasper and the late Kenny Kirkland. Ms. Lundy’s 2005 release, the critically acclaimed Jazz and the New Songbook: Live at The Madrid, features some of the jazz world’s best known musicians paying tribute to Ms. Lundy.
Carmen Lundy’s work as a vocalist and composer has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, as well as numerous foreign publications. As a composer, Ms. Lundy’s catalogue numbers over 60 published songs, one of the few jazz vocalists in history to accomplish such a distinction, and has led to the first publication of the Carmen Lundy Songbook (2007). Her songs have been recorded by such artists as Kenny Barron ("Quiet Times"), Ernie Watts ("At The End Of My Rope"), and Straight Ahead ("Never Gonna Let You Go").
Of course, her songs can also be found on her own recordings Good Morning Kiss (CLR/Afrasia Productions); Moment To Moment (Arabesque/Afrasia Productions); Night And Day (CBS/SONY and re-issued by Afrasia in 2011), Old Devil Moon and Self Portrait (JVC); Something To Believe In and This Is Carmen Lundy (both for Justin Time); Jazz and The New Songbook: Live at The Madrid (two-disc set and DVD, Afrasia Productions); Come Home (Afrasia); Solamente; and her latest release, Changes (Afrasia Productions).
A native of Miami, Florida, Carmen Lundy's path to being one of today's most talented, respected and sophisticated jazz singers began at age six, with her first piano lessons. She was deeply inspired by her mother who was then lead singer in the gospel group, the Apostolic Singers. Ms. Lundy attended the University of Miami as an Opera major, but soon discovered that jazz was where her talent really shined. While working steadily in the Miami jazz scene, she graduated with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz -- one of the first singers to do so. Lundy then moved to New York City in the spring of '78 and immediately began working in jazz circles throughout the Tri-State area, from Harlem to Greenwich Village, quickly impressing the notoriously critical jazz cognoscenti and audiences alike. Esteemed critic Gary Giddins stated (in 1983): "Jazz singing stopped regenerating itself about 20 years ago, and it's not hard to see why, so it's with some trepidation that I call your attention to an authentic young jazz singer named Carmen Lundy-- she's got it all." Armed with a devoted following and critical kudos, the uncompromising Ms. Lundy continued to make waves, not just in North America, but in Asia and throughout the UK and Europe.
Teaching is also an important activity for Ms Lundy: She's given Master Classes in Australia, Denmark, Russia, Japan, Switzerland, New York, Washington, D.C., Northern California, Los Angeles, and many others. Since its inception in 1998, Lundy has and continues to participate in Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as Resident Clinician and guest artist. She has also worked with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as guest artist and clinician.
Ms. Lundy is also a gifted actress active in theatre. "Acting," as she told Dr. Billy Taylor in 2006, "helps me to get more comfortable and acquainted with the art of performance." She performed the lead role as Billie Holiday in the Off-Off Broadway play They Were All Gardenias by Lawrence Holder, as well as the lead role in the Broadway show, Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies. She made her television debut as the star of the CBS pilot-special Shangri-La Plaza in the role of Geneva, after which she relocated to Los Angeles, where she currently resides.
Among her many awards and recognitions, especially rewarding was Miami-Dade's County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners proclaiming January 25th "Carmen Lundy Day,” along with handing Ms. Lundy the keys to the City of Miami. Other notable events include several Top 10 albums on JazzWeek and a #3 spot on Billboard’s Jazz Chart for 23 weeks with her debut album Good Morning Kiss.
In addition to her recordings, Carmen Lundy has also composed and arranged for the Sonoton Music Library, the largest independent production music library in the world. Her music has been featured on such TV shows as Mad Men, The L Word, Boardwalk Empire, So You Think You Can Dance, Baby Story, and many others; her feature films and documentaries includes 9/11 – A Remembrance.
Carmen Lundy is also a painter in oils on canvas, and her works have been exhibited in New York at The Jazz Gallery in Soho, at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and at a month-long exhibition at the Madrid Theatre, also in L.A.
“In a world of pretenders, Carmen Lundy is a genuine Jazz Singer” -- The Evening Standard