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. She can take a song and turn it up or down, and leave you believing that it was meant to be exactly that way. It takes great jazz chops to do that, and Kelly’s are superb. She has earned many awards and enlisted fans from around the globe. She began her musical career at age four in her hometown of Rochester, New York, with piano lessons. She continued her music studies to include clarinet, drama and dance. When she enrolled at the Eastman School of Music, she decided to concentrate on voice. At sixteen, she formed a combo and performed at clubs around Rochester. In the early 70s, she joined a rock band as lead singer and went on tour of the East Coast and the Midwest. Enjoying the freedom to improvise, she gravitated to jazz, forming her own group. As a jazz artist, she's performed on the West Coast, in the Far East and Europe. She performs regularly in New York City at the most prestigious clubs: The Blue Note, Birdland, and Dizzy’s Coca Cola club at Lincoln Center. She has appeared at numerous jazz festivals and has sung with various symphony orchestras around the country. Nancy was twice named “Best Female Jazz Vocalist” in the Down Beat Readers’ Poll. She has recorded four CDs, the most recent being “Well Alright” with guest tenor saxophonist Houston Person.
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This review from Bruce Crowther (website)
Nancy Kelly Well, Alright! (Saying it With Jazz SIWJ 0309)
On the second CD, recorded in towards the end of 2008 at Bake's Place, an intimate club in Issaquah (in the state of Washington), Nancy turns her attention to some show and pop songs from the 1960s and a generous sprinkling of blues. Among the songs she sings are 'But Not For Me', 'I Love Being Here With You', 'Let's Fall in Love' and 'Alright, Okay, You Win'. The result is an electric performance, on that underlines the praise prompted from me by her first CD. This time, Nancy has a different backing trio: Randy Halberstadt on piano, Jeff Johnson on bass and Gary Hobbs on drums
Willing to teach
Intermediate to advanced
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Nancy teaches "The Art of Popular Singing and Vocal Jazz Techniques" privately and at several colleges in upstate New York, focusing on what she calls "conversational singing." In Nancy's words: "I do not teach how to sing particular songs or any particular style of music. While I have students that study Jazz singing with me, my classes are intensive study on how to use the voice."
She has combined techniques from the classical discipline with her 40 years experience singing everything from rock to jazz