Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Friedman, Janice, piano; b. Bronx, NY, 26 December 1960. Her parents are Elaine (Rosenberg) Friedman and Melvin Friedman. She and her sister Barrie grew up in Livingston, NJ. Janice studied piano with her Mom, a very fine pianist in her own right, and then, at around the age of 5, started taking piano and Hammond organ lessons from her Mom's Jazz teacher, John Gamba. Learning chords right away, Janice started plunking out tunes by ear. She was influenced by her parents favorite pianists that included Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland and Ahmad Jamal. Knowing that she would be a pianist from a very early age, Janice gained experience in elementary school playing for talent shows and school productions etc. She started studying classical music seriously in the 5th and 6th grades and was awarded international rankings from the Music Education Council, an honor for which she performed in Carnegie Recital Hall. At this time she continued studying with Jazz pianist, Greg Nattic and classical pianist, Grace Castagnetta. Janice started teaching piano at the age of 12, and continues to teach both privately and at Rutgers University where she has been on the faculty since 1993.
Janice's first "pro jobs" began in Jr. High School- playing solo piano at some private parties, backing up vocalists on demo recordings, and playing with a rock and roll dance band. Summers throughout high school brought more experience as the music director for a camp. Here she had to play for children's productions of Broadway shows and write out the music for all the events. Her college of choice was Indiana University and Janice graduated with honors receiving a degree in Jazz Studies. Throughout this time, there were plenty of gigs both on piano and, because there was a shortage of bass players, also on the keyboard bass. She learned from the other pianists at school and traveled to Indianapolis to hang out and study with pianist, Claude Sifferelen. Janice was lucky to know many standards and Brazilian tunes from growing up in a Jazz appreciative home and she added to this repertoire by listening to the Dixieland players in Indianapolis and learning the Bebop repertoire at school. Following college, there was a move to Brooklyn, NY.
She worked professionally right away at many places around the tristate area and is well remembered amongst the musicians for playing steadily in 1985 and 1986 at a little Jazz joint in Manhattan named Arthurs Tavern. It became a popular hang for the young Jazz players in NY. In 1988 she went on the road with Woody Herman Orchestra. She stayed on the road for 6 months before moving to Edgwater, NJ. In the late 80's and early 90's Janice worked constantly in the NY area. She worked with a piano trio at the Sign of The Dove and a sax/piano/bass group at a Sheraton. Around 1995 Janice moved into Manhattan where she lives today. She is kept busy doing solo and ensemble gigs, accompanying vocalists, arranging, doing copywork, composing and teaching.
Janice has performed at some notable clubs and concerts halls including the Blue Note, Iridium, Fat Tuesdays, Birdland, The Algonquin, Carnegie Hall, JFK Art Center, Garden State Art Center and Windows on the World amongst others. She has been included in the Waterloo Jazz Festival, the Jersey Jazz Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival, Women's Jazz Festival in Portugal, The Bern Jazz Festival and many others. . She has performed with Marian McPartland, Milt Hinton, Claudio Roditi, Billy Higgins, Warren Vache', the Woody Herman Orchestra, and others.
Janice Friedman w/Billy Higgins and Ray Drummond (unreleased 1988); Finger Paintings (1993); Triptych (1999)
John Krakow: Ululation (1987); Milt Hinton: The Basement Tapes (1987); Diva: Something's Coming (1995); Swinging Ladies: Take Two (1996); Greg Gisbert: The Court Jester (1996); Mark Buselli: Through the Eyes of a Child (1997); Stan Edwards: Play Me Hearts and Flowers (1997); Mark Biles: Club Car Memoir (2000); Stephanie Clark (2002)
Tapes and DAT tapes from jam sessions, gig recordings (1980 thru the present)
NPR, "Piano Jazz" with Marian McPartland
WNYC, "Around NY" JF Trio
WNYC, "Around NY with the Warren Vache' Quartet
WNYC, "Around NY with the Virginia Mayhew Quartet
WBAI, "Leonid Hambro at the Keyboard" solo piano for Women in Jazz
WKEW, "The Stan Martin Show" with vocalist Judy Barnett and quintet
And others over the years
Bill Walters: Getting to Know Janice Friedman, in: Jersey Jazz, 21/8 (Oct.1993)
The Alternative (3-83) Jazz Pianist Doesn't Fit Stereotype
New York Times (6-29-1991)review of JVC Jazz Festival - review of Swing Under 40 concert
Star Ledger (October 21, 1991) Jazz Traditionalist Vache gives bebop a toot
Grand Rapids Press (1-23-1988) Youth no handicap for for jazz musicians: review of Woody Herman Concert
Strictly Jazz (1-1996) A Tale of Two Pianists- review of duo piano concert with Marian McPartland
Strictly Jazz (March 1994) Janice Friedman: An Explosive Pianist
Jersey Jazz (10-1993)- Watchung "Getting to Know" series
JazzHaus Journal (10-1997)- Swinging Ladies
Allegro (10-1995) Musicians at Work:Labor Day '95
Janice Friedman was the recipient of 2002-2003 ASCAP award
Musician of the month on the Wudds.com website in February 2003