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Grace Kelly / Press

““Alto sax player Grace Kelly built on the success of her free outdoor show last year by playing to a sold-out Gesù…Those who wring their hands with worry over rock and pop taking over the jazz festival must have been reassured as Kelly and trumpet player Jason Palmer wailed away in call-and-response abandon during Kelly’s own composition Filosophical Flying Fish…But really, where is the artistic line between those horn exchanges and the equally intense guitar trade-offs between Peter Frampton and his second guitarist Adam Lester during (I’ll Give You) Money? Excellence is excellence, genre be damned. You’re either at the top of your game or you’re not.””

““The 2010 set drew more visceral excitement than jazz music usually gets, but Kelly’s return this year for a ticketed concert actually upped the ante: she brought fellow alto sax player and bona fide legend Phil Woods, her band sounded even better and the hushed Gesu allowed every note to be heard…It was a treat to hear Woods, six decades older than Kelly, trading solos with her on Man With the Hat, the playful title track of their CD collaboration. The bebop icon blew lyrical phrases and Kelly responded in kind…. Brought back by standing ovation for the inevitable encore, Kelly, accompanied only by Johnson, played a soulful, velvety version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, reclaiming it for a few minutes from the unfortunate diva vehicle it has become. The line-up for the merch table snaked all through the Gesu lobby. So…a couple of years from now, maybe sooner, at Theatre Maisonneuve?””

““Grace Kelly is a bandleader at 19. A highly acclaimed one. She’s been praised by jazz giants like Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz and Phil Woods (and performs with the latter Saturday night at the Gesù)… Anyone who has seen Kelly and her band will have remarked that the smooth, lyrical quality of her playing might evoke her early idols, but her stylistic ambitions are wide-reaching: solid bop, New Orleans syncopation, bossa nova, funk and a rock-like backbeat have all been ingredients in her live sets… Even though much in her music can’t help but delight jazz hardliners, Kelly herself is not a purist. “I’m a very strong believer that jazz is about improvisation and about creating and spontaneity,” she said. “That’s what really drew me to it, but I think there’s plenty of music that can fuse elements of jazz with its own type of sound, whether it’s rock or pop. I’m not into ‘No, this isn’t jazz.’ I like everything that’s good and I encourage people to thi”

““One fact is undeniable - the passage of time. As jazz veterans die off, the festival is trying to build a following for next-generation stars like saxophonist Grace Kelly (July 2 at the Gesù), and Grammy award winning bassist-vocalist Esperanza Spalding (June 27 at Théâtre Maisonneuve).””