There’s a clip on YouTube from the alto saxophonist and vocalist Grace Kelly’s first gig ever. It’s June 2002, she’s 10 years old, and she’s in a Borders bookstore, duetting with an adult pianist on “Besame Mucho.” The saxophone, too heavy for her to hold while standing, rests on a pillow; she’s sitting on its case. She doesn’t improvise, and there’s nothing virtuosic going on, but her playing is strong: big, confident and in tune. A jazz star is born.
In November 2011, Kelly, then 19, issued her first music video, for the original song “Sweet Sweet Baby.” In it, she twirls in a field; lays in a hammock with her dog, Asher; and plays her horn while encircled by people holding hands. Save for some tart alto and shimmering electric piano, the track and its video are decidedly pop-focused: more MTV-or what MTV used to be-than JALC.