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Kellye Gray

With her renowned, brilliant use of voice as instrument, jazz singer Kellye Gray has entertained dignitaries and heads-of-state, and shared stages with an impressive constellation of international jazz, blues and R&B stars in a career spanning twenty years. The San Francisco Examiner called her “a musically most imaginative tour de force.” Described as “stunning scat singing, instrumental simulations and dark-toned balladry” by the Los Angeles Times, Gray creatively uses her voice as part of the ensemble. JazzTimes magazine calls her ” an impressive, indeed frighteningly vast talent.”

Mostly self-taught, Gray has developed her own approach to singing jazz. Her performances highlight her strong sense of balladry with both vocal and lyrical interpretation, along with her funky sense of rhythm. Never limiting herself creatively, Gray blends scat, ballads, Latin, funk, soul, blues, solo and free styles into her shows.

Gray’s longevity is a testament to her mastery of her self-taught abilities and natural talent. Her twenty-year career has led her to performances in major venues such as the Lincoln Center, Yoshi’s, Cinegrille in Hollywood’s famous Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans’s oldest jazz room Snug Harbor and in the jazz caves of Paris at Les Caveaux de la Rochette. Festival performances include the Spoleto Festival USA, Stanford Jazz Festival, Houston International Festival, Viva Musica! Festival (Slovakia), the Jazz and Blues Heritage Festival and the San Francisco Jazz Festival. Among the many unique experiences in her career, some special ones include singing for Dizzy Gillespie’s birthday party, opening for Ray Charles, and being included in the Great Day in San Francisco’s historical photo of west coast jazz musicians.

Beyond the music, Gray is known for her vivacious, comic personality and fun performances. The Houston Press wrote,”Kellye Gray is cool. … The kind of cool that makes you feel at ease. You want to shoot the breeze with her because she’s engaging, and you’ll laugh your ass off.”

A Dallas native, Gray began her singing career on Austin’s Sixth Street where she provided a rare jazz experience attracting the college crowd as well as the more sophisticated up-and-coming baby boomers. Gray blew up, as they say, while living in Houston before moving to San Francisco in 1992. Later a move to Los Angeles and now is based out of Austin. She tours nationally and internationally.