Nichaud Fitzgibbon is recognised as Australia's premier jazz stylist her natural charisma and feisty elegance brings sophistication to performances offering a repertoire of popular jazz standards from the Great American Songbook. Her sound is sultry and warm and she always leaves you wanting more from her selection of swing and grooves to bossa and blues. She performs regularly with her band at various Melbourne venues and festivals around the country and is in demand for corporate events and major concerts she works with some of Melbourne's finest musicians in a variety of line-ups from duo to bigband.
Nichaud's latest career highlights include a stellar performance with her Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee for The Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2015 ,closing of the Stonnington Jazz Festival 2013 with her Tribute to Peggy Lee. She was also chosen to sing for the 70th Commemorative Gala Ball in Darwin in 2012. She delighted the audience of 1000 attendees and performed for Her excellency The Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce, The Prime Minister The Honorable Ms Julia Gillard and many other honored guests. She was also invited to appear for the closing of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival June 2011 - A Tribute to Australian Swing with James Morrison which received rave reviews ****1/2( see QUOTES )
Nichaud also performed another Tribute to The American Songbook with The Syncopaters for Morning Melodies 2010 at The State Theatre.
The story so far -
Nichaud (pronounced Nee-show) was born in the small country town of Wycheproof in North Western Victoria. Known for its "King of the Mountain" potato sack race, Nichaud is now its most famous export. Her mother, Faye Hommelhoff, grew up there and is of Danish and French descent. Nichaud is a fourth generation performer and it goes without saying that as a member of the renowned jazz and showbiz Fitzgibbon family, music is in her feisty Irish blood.
At an early age Nichaud was surrounded by music of the 20s and 30s that played nightly at the club run by her father Smacka Fitzgibbon. The beloved Australian jazz musician and entertainer who started his career playing banjo with Frank Johnson, Len and Bob Barnard and Graeme Bell. Smacka's Place was to become Melbourne's most famous jazz club in the 1970's. Grandmother Minnie was a soubrette - a child performer in vaudeville in the early 1900s. She was also a wonderful stride pianist who encouraged Nichaud and her three brothers to play music. Nichaud's aunt, Maggie Fitzgibbon, started her career as a soprano in the Tivoli theatre and then moved to London to star on television and in West End musicals. Nichaud's brother Mark is one of Australia's finest jazz pianists he is her collaborator and musical director.
Nichaud's musical destiny can not only be put down to a natural family inheritance but also to the fact she was lucky enough to sit on Louis Armstrong 's knee at the age of three! Smacka and his band were there to greet Pops at the airport when he first came to Australia. Nichaud's earliest memory of music was hearing her mother playing a Billie Holiday record and the song she loved most was 'What A Little Moonlight'. Her father's record collection was a big influence. She listened to the sounds of The Boswell sisters, Louis Armstrong, Al Bowly and The Chocolate Dandies and later developed her style whilst listening to Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Anita O'Day, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
Nichaud started performing with her brother Mark in the early '80s and worked at all the regular jazz venues and festivals around town. Vince Jones gave Nichaud her first television appearance when he invited her to be his special guest on The Don Burrow's Jazz Series in 1983 for ABC television. Apart from performing around town at regular gigs she also started a full time job working at Brashs record store, which she eventually managed for a couple of years and then moved to London in 1986. She stayed for three years and performed at various clubs and festivals plus a stint with Australian rock band The Models when she joined Wendy Matthews as a backing singer for their London gigs. Another highlight was an impromptu performance with legendary tenor saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders at Ronnie Scott's jazz club. After returning to Melbourne in 1988 and working with various bands she formed YOYO an original funk band with trumpeter Gavin Cornish and her brother Andrew, the drummer in the family. YOYO was an explosive high energy funk and groove band in Melbourne in the '90s. Definitely ahead of their time. The YOYO Thursday night residency became an institution at The Esplanade Hotel in St. Kilda for three years. An invitation came to work with Rock Star James Reyne which gave Nichaud the opportunity to join his national tour as backing vocalist. She later worked extensively on television shows including The Big Gig series on the ABC and Tonight Live with Steve Vizard under the musical direction of Paul Grabowsky. Nichaud also appeared regularly on Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton and the ABC's Pulse Jazz Series which showcased Australia's finest jazz artists live in concert at Chapel off Chapel.
Also during the '90s Nichaud became a founding member of the sixteen piece bigband The MOOVIN and GROOVIN' ORCHESTRA led by arrangers Gavin Cornish and Ken Schroder and made several recordings. She hosted a Jazz radio show for Community Radio Station 3CR every Tuesday afternoon promoting fellow musicians and interviewing touring Jazz artists. She also worked with popular bands including R&B outfit The Swinging Sidewalks, The Gospel Soul Train, Ladysoul-60s soul revue and started the band So Nice with Jane Clifton.
So Nice celebrated the music of Sergio Mendez and Brazil '66 and songs by Burt Bacharach.
She collaborated with Jack Howard (X Hunters and Collectors) and recorded songs for their band - FRAIL. She has also recorded backing vocals for several other Rock bands including The Bad Loves and Nick Barker and for Jamaican Reggae artist Larry Maluma, Kylie Auldist's Heavy Earth and and Rhythm and Blues composers Andy Cowan, Kerri Simpson, Cyndi Boyste, Andy White's Garage Band and Ocean's Baroque.
Nichaud was given an amazing opportunity to work with The Australian Ballet Company in Stanton Welsh's production- Three Of Us when she sang Gershwin's Someone to Watch over me at The Victorian State Theatre. Not many singers get to work with The Ballet! She also performed Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy with James Morrison, Venetta Fields and Shelley Scown for 'The Australia Remembers Concert' which was televised nation wide live from The Palais Theatre St Kilda and was congratulated by then Prime Minister Mr Paul Keating.
Barry Humphries commissioned her to sing three Gershwin compositions - Feeling Sentimental, Sweet and Low Down and I Was Doing Alright for his collection of Rare Songs Vol 2. Released in 2000.
The Victorian Arts Centre invited Nichaud to perform as part of a special tribute - The Great Jazz Singers Concert. Performing songs made famous by Ella Fitzgerald with arrangements by Graeme Lyall featuring a 10 piece ensemble playing to 12,000 jazz fans at the Myer Music Bowl. Nichaud has also performed several special jazz concerts over the years with legendary international jazz pianist Dr Allan Zavod.
In 2001 Nichaud released her debut Jazz CD AFTER HOURS which received rave reviews showcasing her talent from swing to bossa featuring arrangements by Ken Schroder with performances by some of Melbourne's jazz elite including award winning saxophonist Jamie Oehler's and his Blowfishhorn section.
During the last few years Nichaud has been involved in a variety of projects. Known for her love of Brazilian music she was especially commissioned by Abracadabra Films to sing Manha de Carnaval (Black Orpheus) in Portuguese, accompanied by guitarist Doug DeVries, for a documentary filmed in East Timor called Birth of a Nation - Rosa's Story. She sang Dearly Beloved for the soundtrack of the Australian film Trojan Warrior produced by Triple 3 Films. As well as performing in mini musicals directed by Toni Bartuccio for Show Stoppers at Crown Casino.She made her musical theatre debut playing the role of Mrs McCubbin for McCubbin 150th anniversary score and libretto by Peter Burgess, directed by Martin Croft. Nichaud has been a regular performer for The Victorian Arts Centre's Morning Melodies series at The Melbourne Concert Hall with tributes to Peggy Lee, Doris Day and Smacka Fitzgibbon. The Peggy Lee tributes were also performed for The Melbourne International Jazz Festival and for The Melbourne International Arts Festival at The Famous Spiegeltent (the world's most prestigious cabaret venue).
- Masterclasses with Bobby McFerrin;
- Singing for Les Paul's 89th birthday The Iridium Jazz Club;
- Cabaret spot with Liza Minelli's pianist Billy Stritch.
The audience were held captive for the launch of Nichaud's second CD "DEEP IN THE NIGHT" at The Famous Spiegeltent. It was a superb night of music by this charismatic performer for The Melbourne International Arts Festival 2005. Mark Murphy, the legendary American jazz vocalist produced the cd in April 2005. It is an eclectic mix of jazz standards with arrangements by Mark Fitzgibbon featuring beautiful ballads, cool grooves and gorgeous bossa nova. Deep in The Night, is distributed through Newmarket Music it is definitely a must. Music Guru, Billy Pinell voted it in his top 10 releases of 2005.
A collaboration with the talented composer and alto saxophonist Martha Baartz features Nichaud on tracks Melanie and Scrumptious for the latest Baartz Freeman Project CD -
12 SALUTATIONS - a fantastic original jazz album which is also available through Newmarket Music.
Nichaud recorded several songs with multi-instrumentalist/singer Gerry Hale for his CD "VIVANDO" which is a melting pot of Country, jazz and swing with great harmonies. It features many great Melbourne musicians and singers celebrating the fun songs of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.
Popular mainstream jazz outfit The Syncopators invited Nichaud to sing Jonny Mercer's If You Were Mine, a song immortalized by Billie Holiday. Peter Gaudion thought Nichaud, the perfect vocalist to be on their CD "In Sync" which was recorded in October 2006. She also sings Miss Brown to You and Someday, Somewhere on their latest CD "Saturday Night Function" recorded in 2009.
A special collaboration saw Nichaud perform with world renowned American classical pianist,
Dr Donna Coleman with leading guitarist Geoff Hughes and a night of songs by American Classical composer, Charles Ives. An amazing night of music!!!
Nichaud also worked with Josh G Abrahams and recorded a song for the soundtrack ONE LAST RIDE, a film by famous Tawainese director, Ang Lee released in 2006.
MOOD SWING is Nichaud's latest recording project. It is a compliation of Australian compositions and features her unique sound and creative direction on songs written by some of Australia's finest Pop artists. It has met with lots of enthusiasm and has some great arrangements by Mark Fitzgibbon and Lachlain Davidson.
Nichaud has always been a versatile performer and has worked in a variety of settings, the most unusual and exciting was a recent invitation to sing with the members of the original SKYHOOKS band for a corporate fundraiser. The Blackwood 8 Brain Tumour Research Foundation. It was a major '70s flashback.
Another change of style saw Nichaud starring along side Jane Clifton and Ali Mcgregor for a Tribute to the Southern Country Belles for Morning Melodies at The State Theatre in March 2012.
Jazz shows and Concerts available -
The Nichaud Fitzgibbon Quintet - (piano, bass, guitar, drums can extend with trumpet and sax)
The Great American Songbook Tribute - Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Rodgers and Hart
YOU GIVE ME FEVER - A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee (8 piece)
The Great American Songbook with The Syncopators (8 piece)
The Smacka Fitzgibbon Tribute Concert (8 piece)
So Nice - A Celebration of Sergio Mendez and The Sounds of '60s Latin POP (8 piece)
The Blonde Bomshells Tribute - Doris, Peggy and Marilyn
Viva La Diva Tribute a selection of songs by the world's favourite singers.
Nichaud has 16 piece Big Band repertoires with -
The Daryl Mckenzie Jazz Orchestra.
Ken Schroder's The Moovin'& Groovin'Orchestra.
Peter Milley's authentic 1920's 11 piece Big Band- The Cairo Club Orchestra.
The Pearly Shells Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
Has also appeared with The B# Orchestra by request.