Julie Kelly

The late, respected jazz critic Leonard Feather once said of jazz singer Julie Kelly, “Julie Kelly radiates a sense of joy and spontaneity. Listening to her, you are reminded that jazz singing is still alive and well!” Feather's successor at the Los Angeles Times, the veteran critic Don Heckman, referred to Kelly as having, “one of the finest vocal jazz instruments of the '90's”.

Born in Oakland, California, Kelly grew up absorbing herself in gospel, blues and jazz in addition to pop and classical music. “When I was 13,” she remembers, “I was listening to Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, as well as Dave Brubeck, and those wonderful albums with Miles Davis and Gil Evans. It wasn't long before I was sneaking into clubs in Oakland in order to hear people like Earl “Fatha” Hines.” She added: “The blues is what guides me, and the great ones have shown the way.”

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”Happy To Be has it all: fine instrumental solos, a Rolls-Royce rhythm section, sharp arrangements, choice material, and a stellar singer who makes great use of it all.” —Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

“Great tone, magnificent phrasing and the innate ability to sing with the band and not around them has Happy to Be one of the more entertaining vocal releases this year.” — Brent Black, Critical Jazz

Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Advanced students only.


Julie is a much sought-after private teacher, clinician and workshop director. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Jazz from Cal State Northridge and is a member of both N.A.T.S. (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and I.A.J.E. (International Association of Jazz Educators). Julie brings performing expertise to her teaching practice and her experience gained from studying with diverse and masterful teachers – Canadian-born pianist Phil Cohen, Zen Master Maezumi Roshi and jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan. Julie can be found in Leonard Feather’s Encyclopedia of Jazz.

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