Primary Instrument: Piano
The composer and pianist Kelly Brand writes songs which carry the listener to places simultaneously evident and quite unfamiliar. She effectively taps into essential elements of living and being human. Brand's way of playing embraces a simple and selfless honesty. She doesn't throw her music at you, but rather extends it as an invitation.
Brand is an active performer on the Chicago jazz scene. In addition to club and lounge gigs she has played three times at the Chicago Jazz Festival. In 1995 she performed at the Ravinia summer jazz series with her Sextet and in 2000 at the Elkhart Jazz Festival with her Nextet.
In 1999 Kelly joined Marion McPartland on stage at Ravinia for some impromptu double piano jazz playing. Ms. McPartland earlier wrote for Brand's first CD liner notes that Kelly writes as she plays, with elegance and sensitivity. The Chicago Reader 1996 stated that everything Brand writes has a noteworthy craftsmanship and flowing serene energy.
In 2001 and 2003 Kelly was chosen to receive residencies at Ragdale, an internationally acclaimed artists' retreat. Kelly was among ten top Chicago jazz pianists who performed at Symphony Center for Marshall Field’s Great Day of Music in 2003. She also performed on Joe Segal’s Caribbean Jazz Cruise that same year. In 2005 Kelly played at the Chicago Jazz Festival and The Cabin Fever Jazz Series with Bobbi Wilsyn’s all women jazz ensemble, SHE.
Brand's playing and writing is also represented on three popular jazz compilation CDs. Ladies in Jazzland an internationally released compilation which includes Abbey Lincoln and Maria Schneider. The other two are Women Who Swing Chicago and Mile by Jazz Mile, both featuring prominent Chicago jazz artists.
Kelly Brand is an experienced teacher and clinician. She has taught for the Merit School of Music and in the Ravinia Music Illumination Program. Currently she is performing with Ari Brown and Kelly Sill in Chicago schools with the Pangaea Trio, sponsored by the International Music Foundation, an umbrella group of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.