Grace Kelly


Grace Kelly (born Grace Chang; May 15, 1992) is an American musician, singer, entertainer, songwriter and arranger. Kelly has collaborated and recorded with many acclaimed musicians in various genres of music, produced and released recordings of her own. Kelly regularly tours with her band. She has scored soundtracks for films and appeared in documentaries. Among her many honors, Kelly was named one of Glamour magazine's Top 10 College Women in 2011; and she has been featured on and on the NPR radio shows Piano Jazz with both Marian McPartland and Jon Weber, as well as on WBGO's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Working professionally since she was a pre-teen, Kelly has been dubbed a prodigy in the jazz world. In 2014, Kelly worked with the producer Stewart Levine on her EP, Working For The Dreamers which was released in September of that year.

She was featured in the December 2015 issue of Vanity Fair as a notable millennial in the jazz world.

In her eighth year in a row being named to the Downbeat Critics Poll, Kelly won the 2016 64th Annual Downbeat Critics Poll "Rising Star Alto Saxophone"

Grace's 10th Album release as a leader, Trying To Figure It Out (2016 PAZZ) was voted #2 Jazz Album of the Year in the 2016 Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll.

Early life and education

Born Grace Chung in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to Korean parents, she moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, when she was two years old. Her mother remarried in 1997 to Robert Kelly, who legally adopted Grace a few years later, thus changing her name to Grace Kelly. Kelly wrote her first song "On My Way Home" at age seven.

Kelly left Brookline High School at age 16 and earned her GED. After studying in the Jazz Department of New England Conservatory of Music's School of Preparatory Education, she enrolled at Berklee College of Music, where she graduated in December 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Music at age 19. Kelly studies or has studied saxophone with Jeremy Udden, James Merenda, George Garzone, Lee Konitz, Greg Osby, Jerry Bergonzi, and Allan Chase.


On March 15, 2005, when she was just 12, Kelly released her first CD, Dreaming. While in the recording stages Kelly met Ann Hampton Callaway, a jazz cabaret singer who offered to write the liner notes to Grace's first CD.

Grace won numerous ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards. Won for the third time "Jazz Artist of the Year" at the 2016 Boston Music Awards Grace previously won the same award in 2008 and 2010. Voted Alto Saxophonist of the year by the 2016 NYC Jazz Fans Decision Award


At age 14, Kelly appeared as special guest artist for two nights with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops 2007 Jazz Series. One of the selections Kelly performed was her award-winning composition "Every Road I Walked" which she also arranged for the entire Pops orchestra.

The next year, Wynton Marsalis invited her to play with Dave Brubeck for the "Let Freedom Swing/Celebration Of America" concert held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the inaugural festivities for US President Barack Obama.

In 2009, Kelly was selected by the Boston Celtics to play the National Anthem at the TD Garden for preseason and play-off games.

For the Kennedy Center's 15th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival, in 2010, Kelly performed as part of an all-star quintet of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding for a set that celebrated the 100th anniversary of Mary Lou Williams's birth.

In 2012, Grace was selected to perform at the 30th Annual NEA Jazz Masters Ceremony with Phil Woods and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

She has performed in venues in the North America, South America, Europe and Asia including Carnegie Hall, Rose Hall at JALC, Birdland, Kennedy Center, Detroit Jazz Festival, Blues Alley, Newport Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, Boston Symphony Hall, Jazz Standard, 50th Grammy Awards (After party), Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scotts, Duc des Lombard, Porgy & Bess.


At 16, Kelly and NEA Jazz master Lee Konitz recorded the album, GRACEfulLEE. The album went on to garner a 4 1/2 star review from DownBeat magazine.

At 18 she released her sixth album, Man with the Hat, recorded as a collaboration with another NEA Jazz Master, Phil Woods. The title of the album honors Woods, who has had a signature leather cap as his trademark since 1976. The title of the album also refers to when Woods invited Kelly, when she was 14 years old, on stage during one of his performances and presented her with his iconic leather cap as a gift after her solo on "I'll Remember April".


Kelly's 2013 single "Sweet Sweet Baby", recorded for the Woodward Avenue Records label, reached #10 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Singles Chart. The track was also included on the label's 9 Mile Road compilation.

Film and television

Kelly is a featured performer in the 2014 documentary film Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story, co-produced by author Michael Connelly and directed by N.C. Heikin. In the documentary, she performs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as part of a tribute concert held in San Quentin State Prison, where the late Frank Morgan was incarcerated at different points in his life.

The documentary had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 14, 2014 and was followed the next day by a tribute concert at The Grammy Museum, featuring Kelly, George Cables, Ron Carter, Mark Gross, and Roy McCurdy.

The documentary was selected for multiple additional film festivals, including the 2014 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the 2014 Maine International Film Festival, the 2014 Virginia Film Festival, the 2014 Atlanta Film Festival, the 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival, and the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival. First theatrical release at the IFC Center in New York City on December 2, 2015.

Kelly has performed many times with jazz musician Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human as the house band for the New York City-based late night television show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as well as at other New York City locations. Kelly also performed in the house band for the 2016 NBC-TV Show Maya & Marty, a variety show produced by Lorne Michaels.

Kelly released her tenth CD, Trying To Figure It Out on February 19, 2016 which includes the track "Blues For Harry Bosch", a composition written for the produced television series Bosch. In the second season, episode 2, of the series, Kelly is featured, playing the song in a scene filmed at the Catalina Jazz Club.

Kelly was Executive Producer and music composer of the 2017 short film "The Bird Who Could Fly", directed by Raphael Sbarge, written by Robert Munic and Raphael Sbarge. The film won multiple awards at the Asianonfilm. Winner Best Director - Sbarge; Best Drama; Best Ensemble Cast; Best Original Script - Munic and Sbarge; and Supporting Actor Rob Yang.


As leader

  • She's The First (2016) single (PAZZ Productions) written by Grace Kelly and April Bender.
  • Trying To Figure It Out (2016) (PAZZ Productions) Jon Batiste, Michael League (leader of Snarky Puppy), Mocean Worker, Shayna Steele, Henry Hey, Tim Lefebvre, Lemar Carter, Pete McCann, Ross Pederson, Jeff Babko, Steve Hass, and others.
  • Working For The Dreamers (2014) (EP) (PAZZ Productions); Sunny Levine, Amir Yaghmai, Gabriel Noel
  • "Sweet Sweet Baby" (2013) (single) (PAZZ Productions); Alain Mallet, Mike Bono, Duke Levine, Spencer Stewart, Eric Law, Gabe Smith, John Nellen, Vishall Nayak. The single reached #10 on Billboard Smooth Jazz Singles Chart
  • Live at Scullers (2013) (PAZZ Productions); Pete McCann, Mark Walker, Jason Palmer, Zach Brown, Chantale Sterling, Jaime Woods, Eric Law
  • Grace (2011) (Pazz Productions); George Russell Jr., Peter Clemente, Jamey Haddad
  • Man with the Hat (2011) (PAZZ Productions); Phil Woods, Monty Alexander, Evan Gregor, Bill Goodwin, Jordan Perlson
  • Mood Changes (2009) (PAZZ Productions); Terri Lyne Carrington, Jason Palmer, Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, with special guests Adam Rogers and Hal Crook
  • GRACEfulLEE (2008) (PAZZ Productions); Lee Konitz, Russell Malone, Rufus Reid, Matt Wilson
  • Every Road I Walked (2006) (PAZZ Productions); Terri Lyne Carrington, Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, and special guest Christian Scott
  • Times Too (2005) (PAZZ Productions); Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, Yoron Israel
  • Dreaming (2004) (PAZZ Productions); Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, Jordan Perlson

As sidewoman

With Terri Lyne Carrington

    • The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul (Concord/Universal, 2015)

With Vance Gilbert

  • BaD Dog Buffet (2014); Tom Eaton, Larry Luddecke, Kevin Barry, Grace Kelly, Richard Gates, Lorne Entress, Neal Eckstein, Joe Walsh, Darol Anger, Roy Sludge

With Bill Bandfield’s Jazz Urbane

  • Playing With Other Peoples Heads: Songs (2014); Bill Banfield, Grace Kelly, Christian Scott, Greg Osby, Alex Han, Kevin Ross, Terri Lyne Carrington, Stokley Williams, George Duke, Annette Philip, Jessica Newry, Amelia Sophia Ali, Jesse Taitt, Madelyn Hawke, Lucia Paniker

With Bob Dorough

  • Duets (2013); featuring New York Voices, Nellie McKay, JD Walter, Heather Masse, Val Hawk, Craig Kastelnik, Janis Siegel, Donna Antonow, Grace Kelly, Vicki Doney, Nancy Reed

With Various Artists

  • Walkin’ & Swingin’ (2010); The Kennedy Center Women In Jazz Festival; Dee Dee Bridgewater, Geri Allen, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Grace Kelly, Sherri Maricle & The Diva Jazz Orchestra, Virginia Mayhew, Anne Patterson's Maiden Voyage, Catherine Russell, Carmen Staaf

Film credits

  • The Bird Who Could Fly (2017) Director: Raphael Sbarge, Writers: Robert Munic and Raphael Sbarge, Executive Producer: Grace Kelly, Composer: Grace Kelly
  • Starcrossed (2015) Director: Chase Mohseni; starring Mischa Barton, Eric Roberts, Grant Harvey. Musical contributions by Kelly.
  • Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story (2014) Producer: James Egan; Director: NC Heikin documentary about alto saxophonist Frank Morgan and premiered at Los Angeles Film Festival in 2014. Executive produced and script by best selling novelist Michael Connelly. Interview and music performed by Kelly alongside Ron Carter, Ed Reed, George Cables, Delfeayo Marsalis, Marvin Smith, Mark Gross among others.
  • Delta Rising (2009) Directors: Michael Afendakis, Laura Bernieri; a blues documentary featuring Willie Nelson, Morgan Freeman and others. Performance by Kelly.
  • Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009) Director: Damien Chazelle. Musical contribution by Kelly.
  • Men in Green (2009) Producers: John Ippolito, Laura Bernieri (also Director); a behind-the-scenes documentary with the legends of the Boston Celtics hosted by Satch Sanders. Film score composed and performed by Kelly.


Further reading

  • Megliola, Lenny. "Young jazz saxophonist Grace Kelly does it all", The Boston Globe, February 23, 2013

External links

  • Official website
  • Grace Kelly at Facebook
Source : Wikipedia


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