Kelly, who turns 21 this spring, has swept jazz by storm over the last decade, winning countless honors and quickly racking up recordings. Her eighth album, Grace Kelly Live at Scullers, was released less than a month ago, and the starry list of notables she’s recorded and performed with includes Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Dave Brubeck, Harry Connick, Jr., Esperanza Spalding, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco, Ann Hampton Callaway, Rufus Reid, Cedar Walton, Marian McPartland, Dianne Reeves, Kenny Barron, and Huey Lewis, among others. In 2011, she co-headlined her sixth release, The Man With the Hat, with saxophone legend Phil Woods, backed by an all-star band.
Kelly (born Grace Chung before her mother married stepfather/manager Bob Kelly when Grace was two years old) began piano lessons at age six, influenced by a strong classical background in her mother’s family (her aunt is a classical violinist, her grandmother a classical pianist). She fell in love with classic Stan Getz, John Coltrane, and Wayne Shorter recordings her parents played during Sunday brunch, and by age nine she’d picked up the alto sax. She gave her first concert just six weeks later, and by age 12, she’d released Dreaming, her first CD.
The accolades poured in, and concerts at prestigious venues and festivals around the world. She bypassed much of high school, obtaining her GED at 16 and receiving a full scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music. She graduated last year at 19, and now teaches residency workshops there.
Kelly still plays piano as well, and her knowledge has grown to include bass, drums, clarinet, flute, and tenor and soprano saxophones. She composes and arranges much of her own music, and of course sings regularly.
Her joyful vocals get prominent stage time on Live at Scullers, a much more eclectic outing than previous efforts. Blending jazz with elements of genres like country, pop, rock fusion, and funk, she hints at a future that could stretch out in any direction. On the opener, “Please Don’t Box Me In,” she sings, “Don’t tell me who I am/Let me tread the waters/Let me scope the Land/’Cause I’m young/I’m free/I have dreams to fill/If I don’t act now/Then I know I never will.”
David Was of NPR’s Day to Day said four years ago, “What if I told you that the future of jazz, which many have pronounced dead or dying in the last two decades, rested in the hands of a 16-year-old Korean American saxophonist named Grace Kelly? … I’ve heard the future of jazz and it is Grace Kelly.”
To purchase tickets, call the Cityfolk Box Office at 937-496-3863 or visit us at 126 N. Main St. Ste. 220 from 10 am – 4 pm. * Some ticket fees will apply.
Senior, student, explorer and group sales discounts are available for most shows.
(update: an earlier version of this article said Wednesday Feb. 14th but the concert is actually Thursday Feb 14th)
Dayton Most Metro Ticket Contest
We have TWO PAIRS OF TICKETS to give away to see Grace Kelly at Gilly’s on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14th)! Simply fill out the form below and then leave a comment saying that you would “love” Dayton Most Metro and Cityfolk to send you and your significant other to see Grace Kelly on Valentine’s Day. We’ll announce winners on Friday 2/8 – GOOD LUCK!
Congratulations to our ticket winners: