Grace Kelly: GRACEfulLEE (2008)
Grace Kelly is still only a teenager, but she has already turned quite a few heads in the world of jazz. She already has an impressive resume, having won several Down Beat Student Music Awards and a pair of ASCAP Young Composer Foundation Awards, in addition to beginning studies at Berklee in the fall of 2008 on full scholarship at the age of 16. She has studied with Lee Konitz, Jerry Bergonzi and Allan Chase and has already played in many well-known venues, working with artists like Phil Woods, Dave Brubeck, Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton and many others, while also appearing on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz (to air in December, 2008). Woods gave her the ultimate complement; after they jammed together on "I'll Remember April," he gave her his trademark leather cap, the first alto saxophonist ever to receive one.
GraceFulLee is Kelly's fourth CD and she is in great form, accompanied by a veteran rhythm section consisting of guitarist Russell Malone, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Matt Wilson. Fellow alto saxophonist Lee Konitz was intended as a guest on a few numbers, but they enjoyed playing together so much, he ended up staying for the entire date. Kelly proves herself by negotiating Konitz's tricky "Subconscious Lee" (an early reworking of "What is This Thing Called Love"), a cool rendition of the veteran's "Thingin'" (inspired by "All the Things You Are") and the title track, a loping jazz waltz and joint effort. Kelly has an appreciation for standards, highlighted by her emotional take of "You Don't Know What Love Is," and there are also several delightful free improvisations: one with Konitz, another with Wilson and a final one with the full band. She also shines in her duets with Malone and Reid. No mere flash in the pan, Grace Kelly is here to stay.
Track Listing: Subconscious Lee; Just Friends; GRACEfulLEE; You Don't Know What Love Is; Alone Together; Buzzing Around; Thingin'; Call of the Spirits; NY at Noon.
Personnel: Grace Kelly: alto saxophone; Lee Konitz: alto saxophone; Russell Malone: electric guitar; Rufus Reid: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.