When it comes to saxophonist /vocalist /composer /lyricist /arranger Grace Kelly, people seem to be divided into two groups: those who marvel at her proficiency, creativity and ever-accelerating growth, and those who have yet to encounter the 17-year-old wunderkind.
The ranks of the former category are growing by the day. Trumpeter and Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis was so impressed with Kelly’s three-night stand as guest of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in November that he has invited her to join the ensemble at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. for an Martin Luther King, Jr. Day/Inauguration Eve concert on January 19th.
Harry Connick, Jr. heard Kelly in a master class on a December afternoon and brought her on stage to sit in with his band that night. This capped an already exceptional end of 2008 in which Kelly’s appearance on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland was syndicated nationally, The Boston Music Awards declared her the city’s Outstanding Jazz Act, and local ABC affiliate WCVB-TV named her one of five Bostonians to Watch in 2009. The 2009 57th Downbeat Critics Poll added to her list naming her one of the "Alto Saxophone Rising Stars”, the youngest ever to be named so. She has numerous other awards to her credit.