The lure of Nancy Kelly lies in the rhythmical, harmonic and melodic ideas and concepts that flow forth from this remarkable singer.
From a sizzling ballad to a jump riff tune, one thing remains constant in Kelly's magical repertoire, and that is swing. It pours outward, not only in sound, but in stage presence, phrasing and intonation. All of these attributes are natural and unaffected and that makes it all the more profound.
Nancy Kelly gives 110% in every performance and the audience can feel that effort, it shows in their reaction and response which is immediate and effusive. Her music becomes boldly original and creative..A true Promethean exertion of power and beauty.
The crowd was moved in many ways; from hushed approval and respect as Kelly's touching and pungently pervasive rendition of "More Than You Know" was sung, to rousing applause as she literally waxed the room with a rapid fire and blazing version of "Jeannine"
This artist is a seasoned performer who has honed her craft to the point where it is not necessary to 'think' about the tune, it has become part of her being, thus giving rise to a natural swing that is now inherent in every performance. Some call it 'soul' and it is indeed an intensity of feeling and earthiness that permeates Kelly's style..Soup du jour, it ain't.
With so many "Jazzette" singers on the scene it is more than refreshing to hear "The Real Deal" as Ray Pizzi the sax wizard declares, or the only great jazz singer today, according to Milcho Leviev the prolific and talented Bulgarian pianist.
Christian Jacob was one third of an exceptional trio that backed Miss Kelly beautifully. Jacob is a formidable musician known for his association with Tierney Sutton, but is certainly his own man. Dexterity, speed, phrasing are all attributes of a artist who paints with his own brush. (He was clearly captivated by Nancy Kelly's extraordinary range and luxurious excellence).
Dick Weller was the master of sensitivity in backing Kelly, His embellishments were apropos to the message laid down by Kelly and his solo was magnificent. The exchanges between the singer and the drummer brought the crowd to its feet. Discretion, thy name is Weller.
Chris Colangelo is the perfect bassist for this type of swinging / euphonious ear pleasing sound. Colangelo is recognized by his peers, the clerisy and the intelligentsia alike as one of the finest bass players on the scene today.
On hand for the festivities were some of L.A.'s top singers, sisters in swing, as it were. Julie Kelly, Judy Wexler, and Denise Donatelli, all exceptional talents.
Nancy Kelly will be back in Los Angeles in February to revitalize the music scene.