Friday, February 05, 2010


Jazz vocalist and composer Julie Hardy was born on February 4, 1977, grew up in Fremont, New Hampshire, an area not known as a jazz center but one with more than enough resources to nurture her talents.

Hardy started singing at a very young age, improvising and writing her own songs. Fortunate to have parents who encouraged music, she began studying classical piano at age 9 and had her first solo singing debut at age 11 in the Ellis School variety show. She was introduced to jazz at Oyster River High School in Durham, NH by her music teacher, Marc Laforce, who is an accomplished jazz tenor saxophonist.

Here, she continued to compose music and in her senior year, she wrote, directed and conducted a full-length musical. After high school, she attended the University of New Hampshire, where she studied both classical and jazz composition as well as piano and voice.When, she began to figure out what it really meant to be a jazz musician, she was already writing wordless music and when she heard Wayne Shorter's album “Speak No Evil” it opened up a new world of knowledge and feeling which greatly influenced her composing and reinforced the direction she was heading in.
After graduation from UNH with a Bachelor's in Composition, she received a scholarship to attend New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Graduate studies allowed Hardy to expand her musical horizons even further, and introduced her to a pool of emerging jazz talents. While at NEC, Hardy was introduced to many influences such as Kenny Wheeler, Pat Metheny, and Keith Jarrett. She also had the chance to work with inspirational teachers such as Dominique Eade, John McNeil, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, and Fred Hersch.

Inspired by Dominique Eade, she continued to compose wordless melodies and treat the voice like an instrument. Graduate studies helped Hardy hone her skills and laid the groundwork for life as a professional musician in New York City.

In July of 2002, Julie was one of two vocalists in the nation selected to attend the prestigious Jazz Academy Snowmass in Aspen, Co. directed by Christian McBride. That following March of 2003, Julie attended the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, a program designed to promote young jazz composers, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She was one of four vocalists chosen internationally to attend and have her piece performed at the Kennedy Center and broadcasted live on-line across the world.

In June of 2003, four days after moving to New York City, Julie recorded her debut CD “A Moment's Glance”, featuring two fellow NEC colleagues Robert Stillman, tenor sax and Randy Ingram piano. Ben Street, bass and Adam Cruz, drums (of the Danilo Perez Trio) completed the ensemble. This record was released on the label Fresh Sound New Talent out of Barcelona, Spain.

In April 2005, Hardy released “A Moment's Glance” to a full house at the Jazz Standard in New York City. She was also selected to perform at the Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Last year Hardy was acknowledged for her talent as a composer by receiving the 2006 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award for her composition “No Turning Back” which is featured on her recent Fresh Sound release.

In 2007, Hardy released her second CD "The Wish" on World Culture Music which is an artist collective record label and multi-faceted music company that was created by drummer Kendrick Scott. WCM is an alliance of like-minded musicians who are making a significant impact on both today's jazz scene and on music in general. In addition to Scott and Hardy WCM also includes guitarist Mike Moreno and trombonist Nick Vayenas.

Hardy's group features some of New York City's best emerging jazz artists including Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone; John Ellis, soprano and tenor saxophone; Ben Monder and Mike Moreno, guitars; Randy Ingram, piano; Matt Clohesy, bass; and Kendrick Scott, and Jared Schonig, drums. "The Wish" has received critical acclaim from Downbeat, JazzTimes, N.Y. Times, Time Out New York, and AllAboutJazz.
Julie does "I'm Looking Thru You"

Review from the New York Times

"On her new album, "The Wish" (World Culture Music), Ms. Hardy burnishes her growing reputation as a musically astute and thoughtfully modern jazz singer."
Nate Chinen, New York Times

Reference - Hardy's website

No comments: