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Judy Rafat
was born in Canada in 1956. She was lucky to be born into a musical family, both parents being singers. Singing was always part of Judy's life. As a child, she took part in the children's BARBERSHOP Chorus and learned at a very early age to sing in harmony acapella. This really developed her ears as far as intonation and singing in tune. At the age of 10 Judy started taking piano lessons. At the age of 14 learned to play the flute and played in her high school band. At 16 Judy started playing the saxophone in the high school big band in London, Ontario.

After graduating from high school Judy went to the University of Western Ontario in London, to study music with a major in flute and minor in voice. She graduated with B.A. in Music and toured Europe with the group "Geysir", an Icelandic Canadian group and recorded her first LP with them in 1976. Judy stayed in Germany and developed into a well known Folksinger where she won a contest with West German Radio and recorded a WDR production for radio in 1982. The turning point in her career was in 1986 when Judy met Dizzy Gillespie. After hearing him play, she immediately immersed herself into jazz and started to study jazz with a major in voice at the Gerhard Mercator University in Duisburg, Germany. From there on Judy began developing herself into an excellent jazz singer and teacher, with her teaching at the Gerhard Mercator University vocal jazz since 1992. Since 1994, Judy has also been teaching at the University of Essen. During which, she recorded two of her own albums and was featured as a guest Artiste in several other albums among which are those from University of Duisburg Big Band and Dusty Lane Jazz Band.

Some of the important highlights in her career were being the opening group for Dizzy Gillespie in 1986 in Duisburg for "Peace is more then Disarmament", and a wonderful "One World" tour with Dizzy spanning from East Berlin in Palast der Republik with guest star Paquito d'Rivera, to Prague and Moscow. In 1997 at the celebration of Dizzy's 80th Birthday Celebration, she was invited by Jon Faddis to be guest at that memorial concert in Englewood, New Jersey. All the celebrities of the jazz world were there, e.g. Tito Puente, Winton Marsalis, Lalo Shiffrin, Phil Woods, Clark Terry, among them being Slide Hampton who after hearing Judy sing, offered to write the liner's notes for Judy's first album tribute to Dizzy Gillespie "Con Alma" in 1997.

At the World Baha'i Congress in 1989, she gave a concert with Petra Held and Thomas Gebhard in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. In 1994 she took part in workshops in Interlaken with Rufus Reid, Kenny Barron. In 1995, Judy felt privileged to receive a scholarship at the University of Massachusetts and studied with Sheila Jordan, Yusef Lateef, Max Roach and Billy Taylor. She made tours all through Eastern Europe including the Jazz Festivals in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Tunisia.

The hardest work up until now was the recording of "Con Alma" A Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie in 1997. A further highlight was Judy being asked by the Ministry of Environment in Germany to record an album with Petra Held for women and Agenda 21 which was produced in 1999.


Dizzy Gillespie & Judy Rafat