Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Nancy Kelly: Jazz Woman: The Reel to Real Sessions


Nancy Kelly: Jazz Woman: The Reel to Real Sessions


View read count
Nancy Kelly: Jazz Woman:  The Reel to Real Sessions
Among jazz aficionados in the "real" Upstate New York, that is to say in and around the cities of Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, vocalist Nancy Kelly is well known. She has performed at multiple venues, both still extant and defunct, which served as havens for music lovers in the area. Known for her uncompromising artistry and singular approach to standards, Kelly did not limit her activity to her native region. Over half a century she has performed all over the USA as well as internationally and has released several critically acclaimed recordings.

Early in her career she also tried her hand at songwriting, and produced a handful of captivating tunes that were shelved until 2022. Two of those are now available on Jazz Woman: The Reel to Real Sessions and their release coincides with Kelly being inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.

The bluesy title track features soulful refrains and a swaggering cadence. Kelly's interpretation of the witty lyrics are, of course, intimate and effortless while the horns often underscore her emotive delivery. Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix takes a suave and muted solo which mirrors Kelly's singing in its elegance.

Meanwhile the effervescent "Move Over" is a lush, Latinesque, ballad which opens with tenor saxophonist Harry Allen's eloquent, warm lines. Over buoyant rhythmic vamps, which vibraphonist Jimmy Johns enhances with his resonant mallets, Kelly launches into a sensual rendition of her own composition. Her voice undulates around the words, caressing them with gentle passion. Allen takes center stage with his signature bravado and sophisticated style.

Kelly penned these pieces decades ago yet they sound as fresh and relevant as any contemporary music. This is a testament to her superb talent and musicianship. The unique combination of youthful enthusiasm and its seasoned interpretation make for an intriguing and captivating listening experience.

Track Listing

Jazz Woman; Move Over.


Album information

Title: Jazz Woman: The Reel to Real Sessions | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self Produced

< Previous
Force of Nature

Next >
Bird Language



Support All About Jazz

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

How You Can Help

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


From Me To You
Petra Van Nuis and Dennis Luxion
Līva Dumpe
Breath Awareness
Derek Bailey, Sabu Toyozumi
Painter Of Dreams
Misha Tsiganov


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.