"For those unfamiliar with Gray from her previous discs—Standards in Gray, the superlative Tomato Kiss and the side-by-side live sets Pink Songs and Blue Songs—think of a layer cake with a dense Carmen McRae center, iced with swoops, dollops and occasionally wide swatches of Nancy Wilson and Billie Holiday, then dotted with Etta James bluesiness and Tina Turner wail. Gray’s is an impressive, indeed frighteningly vast talent…” Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes
With her stunning musicality and warm, enveloping voice, Texas native Kellye Gray is one of the most accomplished jazz vocalists on the national scene. Over her twenty-year career, Grayʼs profile has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, recording a half-dozen albums as a leader and logging performances nationally and internationally at world-class venues and festivals including Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival, Yoshiʼs and SFJAZZ. She has been side by side onstage with legends Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Etta James and Arnett Cobb.
Now a Bay Area resident, Gray recorded her 2007 CD live at Berkeleyʼs Jazzschool with a formidable trio including pianist Otmaro Ruiz and fiery Cuban drummer Jimmy Branly. All of her titles have garnered critical acclaim. She went indie after being sued by the first label she was ever signed to and considered it a good omen as the landscape of the music business began to change. She is an educator and continues to promote her ʻvoice as instrumentʼ brand.
Her new release, And, They Call Us Cowboys (the Texas Music Project (grr8 Records), which re-imagines the timeless and diverse music of the Lone Star State through the filter of Grayʼs jazz sensibility, is set to drop on September 14.
The supporting tour will be showcasing Kellyeʼs entrancing gift for song that made the USA Today call her “simply one the most exciting jazz singers.”