Acclaimed jazz singer Nancy Kelly also enjoys a solid fan base from around the globe for her classic swinging style. Ms. Kelly’s artistry takes us back to a time when jazz – including vocal jazz - was an authentic expression of real emotion.
Kelly’s vocal style is a study in phrasing, style and swing. She’s both old school and new. She’s experienced, yet her delivery and ideas are fresh. It takes real jazz chops to do that, and Kelly’s are solid. Always swinging, with a joyful sound and an ever-present undercurrent of the blues.
Starting at age four in her hometown of Rochester, New York, Nancy studied piano, clarinet, drama and dance with private instructors, and later voice, at the Eastman School of Music. Over the course of over the course of an illustrious, five-decade career...... she has honed her trademark swing/bop take-no-prisoners, soulful swinging style in front of audiences across the U.S. and abroad, including concerts in Singapore, Switzerland, France, Turkey, Japan and a recent tour of Asia that included Hong Kong, Bangkok and Jakarta.
Nancy got her real education as house singer at Jewels, a jazz club in center city Philadelphia, where she shared the bill with the likes of Betty Carter, Houston Person, Etta Jones, Joey Defrancesco, Groove Holms, Jack McDuff and many more. "Rochester native Nancy Kelly is a charter member of the Upstate Burn Society, a loosely organized group that also includes Don Menza, Joe Romano and a number of other Jazz illuminati from Upstate New York". Hot House Fl.
Nancy appears regularly in New York City, including performances at The Blue Note, Birdland, The Rainbow Room and Dizzy’s at JALC. She also works frequently in Los Angeles and Miami, as well as at countless jazz clubs, festivals, and symphony orchestra engagements across the country.
Nancy was twice named “Best Female Jazz Vocalist” in the Down Beat Readers’ Poll. She has recorded six critically acclaimed CDs, Her first recording “Live Jazz” reached #11 on the Billboard jazz charts. “Born to Swing” and her fourth recording, “Well Alright" feature guest tenor saxophonist, Houston Person. Nancy’s highly acclaimed “B That Way” enjoyed 8 solid weeks in the top 50 on the national JazzWeek charts and received rave reviews worldwide. Her most recent work, “Remembering Mark Murphy", was hailed as one of the top 20 Jazz recordings of 2019.
Ms Kelly’s accomplishments and accolades are testament to the fact that a great jazz voice doesn't happen overnight. More than any other instrument the voice gains its resonance and soulfulness from the life experiences of the body that surrounds it. To paraphrase Bird, “If you haven't lived it, isn't going to come out of your horn.” Nancy Kelly has lived it.
She is, in every respect, “The Real Dea