Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Bailey, Judy (Judith Mary)

Bailey, Judy (Judith Mary), pianist, educator, composer, author; b. Auckland, New Zealand, 3 October 1935. Active as a jazz musician in Australia since the 1960s, she has also been prominent as a composer, arranger and educator. Judy Bailey was born in Auckland and raised in Whangarei, a small country town ninety miles away.  She studied classical ballet, then began piano and theory lessons at the age of ten.  Six years later she gained her ATCL Diploma, the performer's diploma of the Trinity College, London. From then on Judy's interest in modern music developed rapidly at the expense of her classical career and she cites Stan Kenton, Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, Horace Silver and Bill Holman as major influences on her development.  She commenced arranging and composing jazz with the 16-piece Auckland Radio Band and various small groups.

In 1960 she came to Australia, intending to stay for a short time before going on to England or the USA.  She was quickly accepted as a brilliant pianist and, on the recommendation of fellow New Zealander Julian Lee, became resident with Tommy Tycho's TV studio orchestra at Channel 7. During the following years she was in great demand for recording and television work. On the jazz scene, Judy soon found herself in the company of Graeme Lyall, Don Burrows, George Golla, Errol Buddle, Lyn Christie, John Sangster, Stewart Speer and other outstanding jazz musicians who played regularly during the '60s at Sydney's legendary jazz cellar, the El Rocco.

1974 saw the formation of the quartet which became the nucleus for Judy's performances during the '70s.  It comprised herself on keyboards, Ken James (flute/saxophones), Ron Philpott (bass) and John Pochee (drums).  In 1974, she took part in Don Banks' piece for orchestra and jazz ensemble, Nexus, which was performed and recorded at a Sydney Prom Concert.

In 1978, the Judy Bailey Quartet toured Asia for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Musica Viva.  This tour covered Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Singapore, and included concerts, student workshops, and broadcasts on radio and television. 

For many years, July Bailey has been active in music education.  Early in the'70s she began a program of 'music and movement' in schools.  She has been involved in many children's programs for ABC radio and television.  When the Jazz Studies program was initiated at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music in 1973, she accepted a teaching position and continues to teach there.

The Judy Bailey Trio features bassist Craig Scott and drummer Dave Goodman.  The Judy Bailey Septet features Warwick Alder (trumpet), James Greening (trombone), Nick Bowd and Paul Cutlan (saxophones), Craig Scott (bass) and Felix Bloxsom (drums).

One Moment; Colours; Judy Bailey Solo (1978); Sundial (1993)

Contact information:
c/o Jane March
Co-ordinator, Sydney Improvised Music Association
612 9938 2180 t/fx or 0407 220 380

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