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Nancy Kelly

Acclaimed jazz singer Nancy Kelly also enjoys a solid fan base from around the globe for her classic swinging style. Ms. Kelly’s artistry takes us back to a time when jazz – including vocal jazz - was an authentic expression of real emotion. 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. It takes real jazz chops to do that, and Kelly’s are solid. Always swinging, with a joyful sound and an ever-present undercurrent of the blues. Starting at age four in her hometown of Rochester, New York, Nancy studied piano, clarinet, drama and dance with private instructors, and later voice, at the Eastman School of Music. Over the course of over the course of an illustrious, five-decade career...... she has honed her trademark swing/bop take-no-prisoners, soulful swinging style in front of audiences across the U.S. and abroad, including concerts in Singapore, Switzerland, France, Turkey, Japan and a recent tour of Asia that included Hong Kong, Bangkok and Jakarta. Nancy is a classically trained pianist that found her voice in jazz and got her real education as house singer at Jewel's, a jazz club in center city Philadelphia, where she shared the bill with the likes of Betty Carter, Houston Person, Etta Jones, Joey Defrancesco, Groove Holms, Jack McDuff and many more. "Rochester native Nancy Kelly is a charter member of the Upstate Burn Society, a loosely organized group that also includes Don Menza, Joe Romano and a number of other Jazz Illuminati from Upstate New York". Hot House Fl. Nancy appears regularly in New York City, including performances at The Blue Note, Birdland, The Rainbow Room and Dizzy’s at JALC. She also works frequently in Los Angeles and Miami, as well as at countless jazz clubs, festivals, and symphony orchestra engagements across the country. Nancy was twice named “Best Female Jazz Vocalist” in the Down Beat Readers’ Poll. She has recorded six critically acclaimed CDs, Her first recording “Live Jazz” reached #11 on the Billboard jazz charts. “Born to Swing” and her fourth recording, “Well Alright" feature guest tenor saxophonist, Houston Person. Nancy’s highly acclaimed “B That Way” enjoyed 8 solid weeks in the top 50 on the national JazzWeek charts and received rave reviews worldwide. Her most recent work, “Remembering Mark Murphy", was hailed as one of the top 20 Jazz recordings of 2019.

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"Kelly explores the nuances of lyrics as intently as a jeweler inspects a world-class gemstone." JAZZIZ "This lady is a study in jazz's cool, it's phrasing, its nuance, and its sophistication. Kelly has wowed em all over the world with her classic swing and elegance." Rochester International Jazzfest "You're the real thing, and in an age of too many jazz-vocal poseurs, that's pretty damned refreshing.” Neil Tesser “Kelly is a world-class jazz singer in the feisty, swinging tradition of Anita O’Day. Throughout her scintillating set, she demonstrated superb phrasing, excellent time, great intonation and tons of chops, with a load of charisma to boot.” - Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes “Nancy Kelly is the Anita O'Day of today.” - Mark Murphy "Nancy Kelly is an exceptionally gifted jazz singer." The Jazz Journal “If swing was Gold, Nancy would be the richest women on earth” John Gilbert E News

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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

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Remembering Mark...

Subcat Records


B That Way

Self Produced


Well Alright!

Saying It With Jazz


Born To Swing

Amherst Records


Live Jazz

Amherst Records


Remembering Mark Murphy

From: Remembering Mark Murphy
By Nancy Kelly



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