Nancy Kelly held the audience in the palm of her hand for two magical nights at Michael D's Santa Rosa Jazz Club. Thomas Beecham was right when he said, "Magical music never leaves the memory" and Miss Kelly was the enchantress that cast her dazzling spell over those in attendance. From Jonathan Winters to the busboys, from the waitstaff, to the cognoscenti, each and every attendee was caught up in the moment. To say that Nancy Kelly is an entertainer is like saying Chopin was a pianist. She exceeds the boundaries of an entertainer, She is a dynamo one moment and a singer of love songs the next. The ballads have a deep 'inside the soul' beauty that defies the simple words that one can write.. Her rhythmic movements on stage are the emotions that she gives to the song, one can sense what she sings being translated into the ballet of her mind. The tunes were the tunes that we hear often, "Till There Was You" and some not so often heard, like Anita O'Day and Roy Eldridge's classic, "Let Me Off Uptown" .."Jeannine" was performed with a mixture of humor and pure jazz singing. (Chris Colangelo had an inspired Bass solo on this piece). "Twisted" featured some delightful rapid fire persiflage that had not only the audience but the musicians themselves applauding. The tunes all had one essential element, they swung like the Flying Wallendas, even the ballads had that intangible sense of swing. Dino Losito at the Piano, backed Miss Kelly flawlessly and his solos were good old fashioned be-bop offerings that gave the proceedings the justice it deserved. It has been said that Tim Pleasant is a "minimum of fuss, and a maximum of taste". He was the perfect choice for this occasion. He was smiling like Billy Higgins at the pure joy this remarkable event engendered.
Chris Colangelo has a style all his own, I call it "Macho Philly," with an air of sophistication. Colangelo was more impressed over this show than I have ever seen him before. His excitement was evident.
There were even people with cell phones standing by the bandstand trying to call others so that they could hear the sounds ...... One band member was heard to say, "A clinic in jazz singing was held tonight, I wish every singer in L.A. was here to see how it should be done".
One knowledgable listener remarked, "She is the best that I have ever heard". Every musician in the crowd, and every customer (to a person) were giving accolades.
Nancy Kelly is the consummate entertainer and the ultimate jazz vocalist, she scats properly and with authority. I will say without the slightest degree of hesitation, that Miss Kelly is the best female jazz singer that I have ever heard, bar none....I repeat, bar none.
Nancy Kelly-Vocals Chris Colangelo-Bass Tim Pleasant-Drums Dino Losito-Keyboard
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.