Born: June 18, 1934 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Kelly, Bev (Beverly Wolfe Kelly), vocalist, composer, vocal coach; b. Rittman, Ohio, 18 June 1934. She grew up in Troy, Ohio. Her father was Donald W. Wolfe, (1914-1984) and her mother was Dora Ruble Wolfe, (1915-1983). Her brother is Bill, b. 1938. At the age of five, she began studying classical piano, which she continued through high school.
At age fourteen, she began studying classical voice, which culminated into a four-year vocal scholarship at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. While at the Conservatory, Bev began her professional singing career with the Teddy Raymore Trio. The trio performed not only jazz, but comedy, show tunes and popular music, an invaluable learning experience, giving Bev a solid background in show business.
After the birth of her first son, Greg in 1954, Bev teamed up with gifted pianist, Pat Moran. After the successful duo was featured on Steve Allen's Tonight Show, they moved to Chicago and added drummer Johnny Whited and bassist John Doling, to become the Pat Moran Trio featuring Bev Kelly. The trio plus Bev also sang four-part harmony.
While on a record promoting tour in 1960, Bev was in an automobile accident in Northern California. After recuperating, she began singing at the Coffee Gallery in San Francisco with Pony Poindexter and his trio, featuring the late Flip Nunez on piano. At this point in Bev's career, most of her fans believed she had 'dropped out of sight.' In reality, Bev made a monumental decision. She did not feel that having a career and traveling mixed well with being a mom to her son, Greg. So she opted for the latter with no regrets. In 1961, she and her husband, Chuck, moved to the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach, California. In 1963 they had another son, Shawn. During these years, Bev began writing poetry and music, doing photography, making pottery, raising German Shepherds, and working on her doctorate in psychology. (Bev was awarded her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1984.) She also worked as a Vocal Coach. Among her students were Gail Farrell, Mary Lou Metzger, and Cissy King of the Lawrence Welk Show, and rock star/actor, Rick Springfield.
Word got around that Bev Kelly was alive and well, living in Long Beach.
She began working clubs with musicians that included Frank Rosolino, Hampton Hawes, Leroy Vinnegar, Mike Melvoin, Jack Wilson, Al Williams, Teddy Edwards, etc. Bev also sang on several commercials which included Chrysler, Continental Airlines, Kentucky Colonel Chicken, etc. She sang the theme song in the opening and closing credits for the Robert Altman film, The Late Show, and recorded a series of albums in London, England that were produced by George Korngold for Reader's Digest, with arrangements by Alan Copeland and Dick Grove.
In 1978, Bev invested into a jazz club in Long Beach, California called the Jazz Safari. She appeared there with drummer Al Williams and his trio that featured the late Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Dwight Dickerson on piano. She was involved with the club until she sold her interest in 1980.
Some of the clubs she has played include the Village Vanguard, NYC; Cloister Inn, Mister Kellys, London House, Chicago; Playboy Clubs, LA & Chicago, etc. She has performed with Herb Ellis, Barney Kessell, Lou Levy, Hampton Hawes, Dwight Dickerson, Jack Wilson, Leroy Vinnegar, Teddy Edwards, Jimmy Jones, Harry (Sweets) Edison, Kenny Burrell, Dave Frishberg, Ramsey Lewis, Jim Hughart, Bob Crenshaw, Mike Melvoin, Carl Fontana, Colin Bailey, Sherman Ferguson, Harvey Mason, Monty Budwig, Max Bennett, Alan Copeland, Milt Hinton, Flip Nunez, Art Hilliary, Scott La Faro, Andy Simpkins, etc.
Her spouse, Chuck Kelly (1930), is a musician, singer, writer who played trombone with Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz groups. He was a singer with Modernaires 1959-1964, appleared on the Red Skelton TV show 1965-69 and various other TV shows, movies, TV specials and recordings. Her sons are Greg, b. 1954 and Shawn, b. 1963, a singer/photographer.
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