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Remembering Mark Murphy

Nancy Kelly, Vocals

John DiMartino Piano and Arrangements

Randy Brecker, Trumpet and Flugel

Bobby Militello, Alto, Soprano, Flute

Ed Howard, Acoustic and Electric Bass

Paul Meyers, Acoustic Guitar

Paul Bollenback, Electric Guitar

Carmen Intorre, Drums


© 2019 SubCat Records


Randy Brecker "Nancy Kelly's tribute to Mark Murphy is wonderful remembrance and dedication to one of the jazz world's greatest vocalists. Each track brings something new to the table though...a heartfelt effort that I was proud to be a part of, having known/toured with Mark, and played on a couple of his albums."


Eric Cohen, WAER Music director and 2-time award winning programmer of the year says: " The CD is a Masterpiece "


Frank Wilner, WNHN FM 94.7 Concord, NH " You have a winner here, very classy recording"


Peter Jones, author of the 2018 Biography, This Is Hip: The Life of Mark Murphy had this to say about the CD. "This hip and mellow album is far more than a tribute to the great Mark Murphy; it’s an outstanding contribution to vocal jazz in its own right. With her warm, sensuous voice, Nancy Kelly has recorded sleek contemporary interpretations of the songs that formed such an integral part of the Mark Murphy repertoire."


Scott Elias, Freelance Film Producer and President at Random Acts Entertainment. " The charts are all cool, and your PHRASING just slays me! It's like listening to Mark Murphy's hip kid sister, who is now a woman who shares his sensibilities, but has her OWN impeccable virtuosity and unique experiences to share."

B That Way


Nancy Kelly, Vocals

Jerry Weldon, Tenor Sax

Dino Losito, Hammond Organ

Peter Bernstein, Guitar

Carmen Intorre, Drums

© 2014 BlueBay Records

"It's notably one of the most impressive vocal jazz albums I've heard this year. Here is a true jazz singer for your listening pleasure".  Dee Dee McNeil  LA Jazz

 "One listen to this disc should make you wonder why she has not recorded more. She has a voice that hints of worldly experience, and sings with the attitude of a lady who knows exactly what each lyric is attempting to convey. In addition she knows how to swing, and that is always a plus. I suspect that this album will attract much airplay, spreading the word about a terrific singer named Nancy Kelly. "Joe Lang October issue of Jersey Jazz

 This is one of the most impressive,consistent all the way through, CDs that I've listened to. The first song is very strong, and I'm sure it'll keep bookers and programmers listening and not going on to "next." Nancy's "Don't Explain" is better than Billies Holidays, no Kidding"Christiana Drapkin


Nancy Kelly is a delicacy and certainly makes her mark on this, her long awaited 5th CD and her first with the B3 line-up. B That Way is one of those discs that grab you from track one (Come Back to Me). Voice, Hammond B3, tenor, guitar and drums groovin' as one. I'm going to be talking about Nancy Kelly long term!  Bebop spoken here Lance Liddle


B That way is a cool-ass cd  Mark Tucker Acoustic Music


Born to Swing

Houston Person,Tenor Sax
Dino Losito,Piano and Fender Rhodes
Neal Miner,Bass
Mark Taylor,Drums

© 2006 Amherst records

It's very pleasing to report that Kelly not only treats this music with care and respect, she also turns it into what are unquestionably jazz performances. At a time when we are still immersed in the flood of popsters claiming to be jazz singers, this cd comes as a very welcome assurance that the real thing is still around. So why are the big bucks behind the wannabes and superior singers such as Kelly having to make their own way? Its an unfair world. Many nearly mere singers squeeze into the jazz fold by way of their accompaniment. Here though there is no question that Kelly has the touch that would swing like mad if she was all alone. This cd is on my list for jazz vocal album of the year. read more

 Bruce Crowther  The Jazz Journal International UK

Kelly creates her own universe of swing, executed with nuclear cool.  read more      

C Michael Bailey  All About Jazz


Miss Kelly has paid her dues in the jazz genre and as a result she has developed into one of the major forces in this idiom, perhaps the best off them all. She has honed her craft in jazz clubs the world over. Kelly's range is high wide and handsome, her phrasing is impeccable and she scats joyfully, correctly and gives new meaning to the word hip. Nancy Kelly is the real deal and your ears will bear witness to that. read more

 John Gilbert

The album makes clear that you're the real thing, and in an age of too many jazz-vocal poseurs, that's pretty damned refreshing.

Best wishes --Neil Tesser

Just Where Has This Lady of Song Been....., June 17, 2006

Nancy Kelly. What a stylist and what a voice and what a communicator! From the very first downbeat Nancy Kelly steps into that blue-tinged smoky spotlight that has been focused on the greats such as Etta James, Billie Holiday, etc etc etc

 Nancy Kelly is a major talent. This is 'old music' - the kind of music we were afraid was gone - beautifully performed by a brilliant ensemble of gifted artists

(Los Angeles, CA United States) 

The title says it all. This infections blond bombshell has all the confidence of a horn player when she swings. Just press the right key or valve, and out comes the right….no, the precise note. She shows great control. She can manipulate her “instrument” and at the same time juggle those things called more

Jazztimes November 2006

"Few younger singers project the sense of time, delivery, and moxie of the great big band trained singers of the 40's. When someone asks where that style has gone, I'll refer them to Nancy Kelly's "Born to Swing". Nancy Kelly is in the tradition of Anita O'Day, Peggy Lee, Lucy Ann Polk, KayStarr, Sassy, and Billie."

Doug Collar   "Jazz Till Midnight"    WKAR-FM, East Lansing, M

She swings, the band swings, the arrangements swing - the toe (well, my toe) taps, and Ms. Kelly takes command of each song - bending it to her will. We're not dealing with some bunch of rookies here, folks - Ms. Kelly (and the band) are pros.   

 Doug Boyton

Tis a terrific CD---my compliments to the Chef----she and Houston are incredible together----Her voice, his sax, and the interplay between the two of them is jazz for the 21st Century at its BEST!! Wotta Team!!

Fritz the Nite Owl: Nite Owl Jazz:  Sunday Nites: 9P-Midnight   WJZA-WJZK-FM: Columbus, Ohio

Wisely Nancy has chosen the renowned ace tenor man Houston Person to enhance her appealing vocalizing on this commanding CD. Song after song she dazzles reminding one of Anita O'Day's finest hours. Nancy actually sounds like another member of the accomplished quartet that so ably accompanies her. There is so much occurring during “More Than You Know" that I just don't know where to begin. Nancy delves into this significant oldie and unearths fresh and new sounds. It's ballad artistry taken to vocal perfection. "Let Me Off Uptown" (Bostic/Evans) highlights Houston in a spectacular one of a kind tenor solo and surprisingly a polished vocal, assisting an amazing swift vocal by Nancy. It's so up you are bound to push the replay button.

Dan Singer from New York City   SINGER'S SINGERS

Aaah Yes…..Once and awhile someone who ‘sings the song.’ It’s obvious that jazz singer Nancy Kelly is a veteran @ her craft……..And her craft is ‘resident chanteuse’ for the American Songbook. This project has the right kind of groove………..The tunes are well picked exemplifying how gifted our (USA) composers were, & how lucky singers like Nancy are to have the chops to give such regal, full meaning songs the right interpretation for our ears to imbibe. Nancy sings with a lot of empathy & affirmation. I sense when the vibes are right, her melodic & harmonic vocalise as well as her lyrical stylings can only surmount  any doubts as to her fine skills as a singer.
George W. Carroll/The Musicians’ Ombudsma







Personnel: Nancy Kelly
Bobby Milletelo  Alto
Bobby Jones Piano
Rod Blumenaue Piano
Danny D'Imperi Drums
Steve Curry Drums
Steve Brown Guitar
Joe Carello Alto and Tenor
Jeff Jarvis Trumpet
John Nyerge, Piano
Dino Losito Piano
Paul Laduca Upright Bass
Ron France Electric Bass
Brian Murphy Vibes

©Amherst Records, 1997



" For those looking for good old-fashioned toe tapping swing, Kelly is one vocalist to check out. Professional renditions of familiar songs like,"Till There Was You" and Fats Waller’s "The Joint is Jumpin". The over all bouncy energy contained in these songs is infectious and more uplifting than a pot of coffee. And Kelly has chops galore. One has to appreciate a singer who can quote Deep Purple’s "Smoke On the Water"and War’s "Spill the Wine" in the same breath while remaining consistent with her music’s straight ahead little big band style."  John Janowiak, Downbeat 1999


" Kelly signs with flair, bending her voice as Billie Holiday did, then scatting up a storm, and all with her own personal stamp with a dazzling performance style. She holds the listener's attention and makes each song personal. Kudos to Nancy Kelly." Jazz Messenger, August 1998


"Her live performances are the stuff of legend from coast to coast, but as a studio artist, Singin and Swingin marks her entry into the big leagues. Kelly is a rare breed of Jazz singer who can emote like Billie Holiday, swing like Sara Vaughan, and scat like Ella Fitzgerald, all while maintaining an identity of her own."  Jeff Miers, Buffalo Beat August 1998


"Nancy Kelly’s second release features more American Standards delivered with a lilt that helps us forget the age of these classics and makes them seem as fresh as today as always it’s is the delivery and Nancy makes this seem so easy".  Magic Memories (the Music of your life) August 1998


"Nancy Kelly is a brassy fresh voiced vocalist with a rich sense of timing. She makes a fine emotional connection with the Listener. This is her second album on Amherst                    records, on it she makes a sassy impression that makes her a talent worth watching out for"     

Jazz Times May 1998

 Singin and Swingin CD pick of the week.

"Much can be said about Nancy Kelly’s genuine Talent and ability as a vocalist to create sensitive, compelling moods within a jazz setting. This is a lady displaying a good clear voice and a jazz feeling that places her in the best of company. She has a mature delivery and a refreshingly enthusiastic style".Johnny Adams, Monterey California Post May 1998


Singin and Swingin
Well Allright



Nancy Kelly - vocal 
Houston Person - tenor saxophone 
Randy Halberstadt – piano 
Jeff Johnson – bass 
Gary Hobbs – drums 
Producer - Joan Merrill, Saying It With Jazz 
Recorded LIVE ! at Bake’s Place, Issaquah, Washington, November 22-23, 2008 
© 2009 Saying It With Jazz,  Bellevue, WA 


"There are many occasions throughout this wholly admirable set when she sets the spine a-tingling in a way that so few of today's singers can manage. Run, don't walk for this one."Bruce Crowther  

The best things in life, and jazz, happen spontaneously. Which brings us directly to Ms Kelly, who again has teamed up with tenorist Houston Person. They collaborated in '06 on Born to Swing; now their unique rapport graces a fledgling label in Bellevue, WA, Saying It With Jazz. Kelly and Person say it with eloquence, spread over eleven live tracks, backed by a highly responsive rhythm section: pianist Randy Halberstadt; bassist Jeff Johnson; and drummer Gary Hobbs. Kelly gives a master class on every track, belting "But Not For Me" at supersonic speed, avoiding words as if they were road-blocks, but never losing the jazz pulse. Person quotes from "Third Man Theme;' Halberstadt offers his own, from "Surrey With the Fringe." Kelly comes roaring back for the out chorus, resorting to scat for the title. "Who Can I Turn To" gives Kelly a chance to channel Carmen McRae; Anita O'Day is conjured up during "I Only Have Eyes," containing Kelly's signature visceral growl. Her range comes in handy on "Let's Fall in Love:" she ends on the fifth, then suddenly swoops an octave higher. The girl's fearless; does it again at the end of "Let It Be Me." The title tune gives Halberstadt his solo highlight: Brubeck-flavored. Person's tour de force comes on "Since I Fell For You." BIllie Holiday's "Fine & Mellow" evolves into a shuffle-shout, call-and-response with Kelly's adoring audience. That's how it went all night: the humor of a jazz conversation with everyone hearing each other; no need for arrangements. Person is a sensitive listener, filling in Kelly's gaps with intelligent comments. The two must be joined at the hip -- very hip"

 Harvey Siders  JAZZTIMES


" Did some one say we had a problem with the golden age of broads?  I don’t think so.  Kelly is right in the pocket with a return to the last hurrah of the golden age of broads, the 60s, when supper clubs still roamed the earth and were populated by swinging kitties that knew how to take a song and a room on their own terms in high style.  Yeah, kind of like the original Ramsey Lewis Trio hitting it at the London House with some solid thrush, that’s what this feels like.  Lewis understands white space and laying out to let her cats swing as well.  A dandy throwback vocal date from a pro that keeps proving her chops with each new session.  Hot stuff."



 "It is, I believe, safe to categorize NANCY KELLY as a jazz singer.  There is always a lot of debate about that designation, but there are times when debate is unnecessary, and it is intuitively obvious to any aware listener a given individual meets the nebulous parameters that form some kind of definition of what is a jazz singer.  Listen to Well, Alright (Saying It With Jazz – 309), and I expect that you will agree with my opinion of Kelly.  She swings, she reconceives melodies, she phrases like an instrumentalist and, by the way, she is hip.  With the backing of Houston Person on tenor sax, Randy Halberstadt on piano, Jeff Johnson on bass and Gary Hobbs on drums, Kelly invests her eleven-song program with plenty of energy, and respect for her material.  There are traces of many jazz singers who preceded her, most noticeably, Anita O’Day, for her rhythm, Carmen McRae for her attitude, and several of the more blues-based singers for her sound.  If you decide to add this terrific CD to your collection, “well, alright, OK, you win!” "Jersey Jazz."(

"There is a long line of female singers standing ready to receive the torch carried by greats of the past like Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, June Christy, Carmen Mc Rae and Anita O’Day. When you hear Nancy Kelly do her thing on “Well Alright,” you will hear one of those rare voices of today, one honed through practice and listening and becoming a jazz person.There are jazz singers, and there are jazz singers. Some in that category are as different as night and day. It’s a fair question to ask. “Where does Nancy Kelly fit in?” She’s more Anita O’Day than Carmen Mc Rae. Nancy is blessed with an innate sense of swing, a true rhythm singer.
The warm welcoming room of Bake’s Club in Issaquah, Washington proved to be the perfect fit for her group of Seattle pianist Randy Halberstadt, bassist Jeff Johnson, Portland, Oregon drummer Gary Hobbs and special guest, tenor saxophone legend Houston Person. Kelly takes Billie Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow,” updates the lyric a bit, throws in a growling chorus and even elicits a call and response with the audience. Person’s tenor is emphatically eloquent.Other tunes include; “Alright, OK You Win,” “Let It Be Me,” “For Once in My Life.” “I Wish You Love,” “But Not for Me,” and “Let’s Fall in Love.”I love her interpretations of so many great songs. She’s both old school and new. She’s experienced yet her delivery and ideas are fresh. She has great jazz chops and sings with a pure honesty." Dick Bogle

  "Veteran singer and Rochester native Nancy Kelly is in fabulous form in this new set, recorded in a Bellevue, Wa., nightclub. Saxophonist Houston Person and his band provide swinging support for this rousing set of standards, including "Alright, Okay, You Win," "Let's Fall In Love," an upbeat take on "But Not for Me" and one of my all-time favorites, "Since I Fell for You," beautifully performed in bluesy tandem with Person. Beyond her commendable tonal quality and range, Kelly is a powerfully rhythmic singer, and plenty soulful. She remains head and shoulders among many in the crowded field of female jazz vocalists." Jack Garner  Rochester Democrat and Chronicle



 Randy Halberstadt

My god--that was liquid fun, wasn't it? Anyone who can listen to that thing and not smile is someone I don't want to know. You were incredible!

Live Jazz


Nancy Kelly's debut CD on Amherst Records "Live Jazz" reached #11 on the BILLBOARD Top Jazz Charts.
Personnel: Nancy Kelly (vocals), Biff Hannon (piano), Tom Warrington (bass), Peter Erskine (drums), Ernie Watts (tenor sax)Recorded in Hollywood and released in late 1988, this CD reached number 11 on the Billboard charts.

"Kelly is a singer to watch for." Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times 1988

Recorded in Hollywood and released in late 1988, this CD reached number 11 on the Billboard charts.

Discover the spontaneity of digital jazz as Nancy breaths new life into classic Jazz Standard favorites with help, from some of today?s most prestigious and accomplished musicians. From swing to sultry ballads, Nancy demonstrates her incredible ability from start to finish.

Ernie Watt?s ripping sax embellishes each track with fiery and distinctive sounds. Ex Weather Report drummer Peter Erskin leads the rhythm section of Biff Hannon (Piano) and Tom Warrington (Bass) with unparalleled precision and excitement.

(drums),Ernie Watts (tenor sax)

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