Nancy Kelly: Remembering Mark Murphy
Nancy Kelly is an exceptionally gifted jazz singer in a league of her own.The lady was “Born to Swing”, and she means business. Her live performances are legendary. She has earned many awards and enlisted fans from around the globe. In a market place where wispy voices and shallow emotions abound, Ms. Kelly is a breath of fresh air...or should we say, smoky air; she takes us back to the time when jazz – and that includes vocal jazz -- was an authentic expression of real emotion.
Nancy 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 great jazz chops to do that, and Kelly’s are superb. Always swinging with a joyful vocal sound with 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 voice at the Eastman School of Music. During her forty-plus year career she has honed her trademark swing/bop take no prisoner’s back-to-the-roots swinging style in front of audiences across the U.S. and abroad--from Singapore to Switzerland, France, and Turkey to her 3 tours of Japan and a recent tour of Asia including Hong Kong, Bangkok and Jakarta. Nancy appears regularly in New York City including performances at The Blue Note, Birdland and The Rainbow Room and Dizzy’s Jazz club, Lincoln Center. She works frequently in Los Angeles and Miami, as well as 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 five critically acclaimed CDs, Her first cd “Live Jazz” reached #11 on the Billboard charts. “Born to Swing” and her 4th cd “Well Alright" feature guest tenor saxophonist, Houston Person. Nancy’s highly acclaimed 5th cd “B That Way” has enjoyed 8 solid weeks in the top 50 on the national JazzWeek charts and is receiving rave reviews world wide!
All of Miss 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 Deal”.