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Judy Carmichael’s Unexpected Connections

The pianist’s Jazz Inspired radio show brings out the inner jazzbo in creative types

Judy Carmichael and John Pizzarelli
Judy Carmichael and Joe Cohn
Judy Carmichael and Chris Flory
Jazz Inspired host Judy Carmichael with guest Matt Munisteri
Judy Carmichael

Judy Carmichael has a big room-shaking laugh. Inevitably, during the course of nearly every interview she’s done for her nationally-syndicated radio show Jazz Inspired, she belts one out. And sometimes, when she’s speaking with someone particularly witty, such as singer-pianist Dave Frishberg, she belts one out every few minutes. Hey, if it sounds like she’s having a ball talking with her guests, that’s because she is. “Oh, yes, it’s a lot of fun,” Carmichael says. “I learned early on that the great artists take their work very seriously, but don’t take themselves too seriously. You know, it’s like a blind date with someone cool that I set myself up with.”

Carmichael’s show has an interesting and unique premise, aptly described by its title. She interviews creative people in a wide variety of the arts and culture about how jazz has inspired them in their work or life. And the results are often fascinating. Whether it’s Chevy Chase talking about his close personal relationship with pianist Bill Evans or Christopher Guest reminiscing about a Spinal Tap segment he taped with Mel Torme or Billy Joel recalling his lessons with Lennie Tristano, the show is full of unexpected connections. She also speaks with jazz musicians about their inspirations.

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