“Grace Kelly has an electric charisma on-stage that instantly ignites the room. She is one of the most kind-hearted, easy-going people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”
Jon Batiste, the band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Saxophonist, singer, and composer Grace Kelly plays with the heart and passion of an old soul yet with the genre-bending zest and energy of a 24-year-old. Having been a regular on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s band, Jon Batiste and Stay Human,Grace Kelly recently released her 10th CDas a leader. The latest album, Trying To Figure It Out, was voted #2 Jazz Album of The Year in the 2016 Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll.
In 2016, Grace was also thrilled to join a dynamic 10-piece house band for NBC’s new variety show “Maya & Marty,” starring Maya Rudolph and Martin Short and produced by Lorne Michaels.
Grace also garnered many awards from jazz critics and fans alike this past year. She was the winner of the 64th Annual 2016 Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll as “Rising Star Alto Saxophone,” and voted fourth in the Alto Saxophonist category in the 2016 Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll. She also won “Jazz Artist of the Year” in the 2016 Boston Music Awards and “Alto Saxophonist of the Year” by NYC Jazz Fans Decision 2016.
Grace wrote her first song at seven years old, recorded her first CD at 12, orchestrated and performed her original composition with the Boston Pops Orchestra at 14, and performed at President Obama’s Inauguration at 16. As a bandleader she has performed over 700 concerts in over 30 countries in notable venues as the Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall and festivals such as Montreal, Newport and Montreux. Grace has performed and/or recorded with Harry Connick Jr, Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Questlove, Esperanza Spalding, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Ron Carter, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Huey Lewis and Gloria Estefan to name a few.
In recent years, she has been featured on Amazon’s Emmy-nominated TV show “Bosch,” CNN.com, Glamour Magazine, Forbes, Billboard, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, and in many appearances on NPR. As a songwriter, she has won multiple ASCAP Composer Awards and International Songwriting Awards.
As Grace Kelly defiantly reminds us on The Other One, a standout number from her upcoming album, Trying To Figure It Out, she’s not looking to be like anyone else. “Got my own thing,” she sings over the song’s urban, trance-like groove. Although the singer and saxophone player has been acclaimed by critics and audiences alike as a jazz musician, the track’s exhilarating chorus, haunting keyboard hook and brittle electro edge show an artist interested only in playing what she loves labels be damned.
While a current Kelly concert might delight jazz purists with Great American Songbook standards, it could just as easily inspire mainstream listeners with Gracei-fied takes on the likes of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, Coldplay’s Magic or Sia’s Chandelier. In Dec 2015 Jon Batiste snagged Grace as a regular on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s band, Stay Human, playing multiple reeds and singing.
But whatever the style, the 24-year-old winner of the 2016 64th Annual Downbeat Critics Poll (as a rising star in the alto sax category) and the eigth time she has been named to the poll, spices up the sound with the lyrical and soulful phrasing of her instrument. Kelly, who guested with the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra as part of the events surrounding Barack Obama’s inauguration celebration at the request of the ensemble’s director, Wynton Marsalis - remains as committed to superior playing as ever.
After accruing two decades worth of accolades penning chart-topping hits for icons and legends such as Anita Baker (“I Apologize”), Angie Stone (“No More Rain”), Brandy, Tamia, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight (“Missing You”), Beyonce (“After All Is Said And Done”)--along with three successful solo albums under his belt (featuring Grammy-nominated guests Ledisi and Carl Thomas)--Chambers found himself at a fork in the road.
"After my last album, Sincere, I wondered had I expressed all I needed to say or all that folks wanted to hear from me as a solo artist.”
Music Hall Jazz Jam Session
Hosted by Scott Gwinnell Trio
Ongoing Sundays 6-9pm
Free, no opening set
Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen has emerged as one of his generation's pivotal figures in music and the related arts. A recognized prodigy, Cohen began Suzuki method piano instruction at age three, and his playing quickly became a mature melding of musicality, technique, and concept. Downbeat observed that his "nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he's above any convoluted technical showmanship." In the same spirit, Cohen himself has noted that playing jazz is "about communicating the deepest level of humanity and individuality; it's essentially about connections," both among musicians and with audiences. Possessing a fluid technique, an innovative tonal palette, and an expansive repertoire, Cohen plays with the command of a seasoned veteran and the passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium.
Detroit Poet & Fiction Writer Leslie Green
Dearborn Memoirist & Author Nancy Owens Nelson
Metro Detroit Fiction Writer Alex Morgan
St. Clair Shores Singer/Songwriter Charlie Palazzola