L.A. Jazz Scene
It is difficult to believe that Life Rearranged is Kelly Green’s recording debut (not counting an album of originals that she recorded while in high school). Her piano playing is sophisticated and modern while also being connected to the tradition. Her vocals (heard on half of the numbers) are subtle, quietly expressive and full of insight. Ms. Green contributed six of the dozen selections to Life Rearranged while choosing the six standards carefully, only performing lyrics that are meaningful to her. And she contributed all of the arrangements for groups ranging from a sextet to her solo version of the title piece.
There are many highpoints to this impressive set. “Never Will I Marry” and “I Should Care” are given fresh vocals as Kelly Green really digs into the words. “If You Thought To Ask Me” is a moody instrumental that is well worth being adopted by others. Tenor-saxophonist Jovan Alexandre and trumpeter Josh Evans both blow up a storm during the lengthy and episodic “Culture Shock” (altoist Mike Troy is excellent too) while bassist Christian McBride and vibraphonist Steve Nelson make welcome contributions to a few selections.
But the main star is Kelly Green, whose wistful ballad singing on “Simple Feelings” and “If I’m Lucky” show a maturity that one would not expect from a performer near the beginning of her career. Life Rearranged is highly recommended and available from www.kellygreenpiano.com
-Scott Yanow" Original article and more found here: http://www.lajazzscene.buzz
New York Music Daily
The sound of a siren in passing traffic opens pianist/singer Kelly Green’s new album Life Rearranged, streaming at Spotify. In addition to a mix of standards, some striking originals with flashes of greatness pervade this urbane, classy, purist album: Green is someone to keep your eye on. The material is typically on the melancholy side but with occasional wistful humor. Vocally, Sarah Vaughan seems to be an obvious influence; on the keys, Green plays with a strong sense for space and a flair for the unexpected. She and her group are playing the album release show on Dec 13 at 10:30 PM at Smalls; cover is $20 and includes a drink.
The spaciously forlorn opening track is just piano and vocals, a jazz tone poem of sorts until Jonathan Barber’s rustling drums finally come in at the very end before a coda that’s too pricelessly apt and instantly identifiably New York to give away. It’s a good start.
Green’s voice takes on a knowing, resolutely insistent Sarah Vaughan-esque tone in Never Will I Marry, Josh Evans’ trumpet and Green’s judicious piano punctuating this swing shuffle. That similarly emphatic vocal delivery contrasts with her pointillistically striking piano in I’ll Know, Christian McBride’s subtle bass slipping in at the end.
Vibraphonist Steve Nelson adds sunburst and then dapple to Little Daffodil as Green and the band artfully shift meters. A strikingly acerbic, rainy-day chart – Evans and Mike Troy on alto sax – shade the instrumental ballad If You Thought to Ask Me before Green’s spare, poignant piano enters the picture, followed by a moody muted trumpet solo and a vividly cautious bass solo.
Likewise, the horns fuel the harried, noirish bustle of Culture Shock, Green’s emphatic swipes anchoring a balloon-in-the-wind alto solo. The album’s most epic track, the band descends into dissociative Sketches of Spain allusions and flutter loosely to a tightly wound drums solo before jumping back into the rat race again. Evans’ haggard, frenetic modes and ripples bring the intensity upward as the melody grows more Middle Eastern.
Green’s take of I Should Care plays up the lyrics’ resolute irony, matched by McBride’s playfully dancing bass solo and Green’s carefree ornamentation on the 88s. In the same vein, Sunday in New York becomes a vehicle for both Green’s jaunty, irrepressible vocals and hard-hitting piano, McBride again capping everything off on a high note.
Simple Feelings/The Truth is a darkly lustrous, distantly latin-tinged midtempo postbop number, building from austere and ambered to a lively sax/trumpet interweave. Green brings the lights down for a dreamy piano/vibes/vocals take of If I’m Lucky, followed by the scrambling All of You, Troy’s alto scampering through the storm. Green reprises the title track at the album’s end as a full-scale instrumental theme with solos all around and a wry trumpet quote or two. On one hand, it’s great that she has her vocal side: there are unlimited gigs for that. What’s most auspicious is her own compositions, and the outside-the-box sensibility that pervades them. Champian Fulton did an all-instrumental album: maybe Green should be next.
Posted in New York Music Daily on Nov 17, 2017
Original article and more can be found here: https://newyorkmusicdaily.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/kellyg/
Hot House Magazine
Kelly Green is a triple threat here as pianist, vocalist and composer, mixing her own material with standards as she teams up with all stars Jovan Alexandre/ts, Josh Evans/tp, Tamir Shmerling-Matt Dwonszyk-Christian McBride/b, Noam Israeli-Kush Abadey/dr, Mike Troy/as and Steve Nelson/vib. On vocals, her tone can get Billy Holiday flexible as she twists through “I’ll Know” and “Never Will I Marry” while her piano work shows strong muscles as she jams with assertiveness with the gents on the modal “Culture Shock.” Lots of material about relationships about to begin or end are sighed through on the title track and a sultry “All Of You” while the team snaps to “Little Daffodil.”
by George Harris
Link to article: http://www.jazzweekly.com/2018/01/kelly-green-life-rearranged/
All About Jazz
Do you remember when writers would refer to the composers of Broadway show tunes as singing with a "lyricist's voice," meaning don't expect too much from the quality of the singing? Well, that does not apply to Florida-borne, New York City native Kelly Green. From the first song presented on her debut recording, Life Rearranged Green establishes that she is no mere songwriter, but an artist and performer in toto. The title song begins with New York City street sounds that give way to an expansive and orchestral piano introduction that goes well beyond simple accompaniment. Green's sure command of the piano and her well-trained voice ensures that she can plumb the depths of even the craggy time signature changes found in her performance of Frank Loesser's "Never Will I Marry." Green's voice is deceptively youthful, but not so much that the song sound contrived. She extrapolates this same element into another Loesser classic, "I'll Know."
Green favors solid and simple accompaniment that includes bassist Christian McBride on four pieces and vibraphonist Steve Nelson, including Green's own "Little Daffodil," where he spreads metallic notes like the wind spreading spring seeds. Freshly close and yet, wide open, the song possesses a funky, descending vibe that reminds one of a morphine dream. Josh Evans muted trumpet adds to the noir here and wherever he shows up. Green's "If you thought to Ask Me" possesses and 1930s personality, something like a cross between Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Green's composing skills are more than impressive, making this first recording that much more appealing. Many are the charms of this first try.
by C Michael Bailey
It’s easy being Kelly Green. At least it looks that way
Kelly Green’s debut recording, Life Rearranged, released just a few weeks ago, has cemented her place as one of the most-talked-about new jazz artists in America, a rapid rise which makes her the quintessential local girl made good. The Jacksonville-based pianist has plied her trade within the ruthless confines of New York City for the past couple of years, and she’s certainly made the most of every waking moment.
Seven of the album’s 13 tracks are her own compositions; four feature the great Christian McBride, arguably the No. 1 jazz bassist working anywhere in the world today. She’s a big, big fan of his work, and the admiration is reciprocal, as he wrote on the inside cover of the CD: “Kelly Green is one of the most talented and spirited people I know. Everything about her is joyous and swingin’!” Those who’ve followed her relentless path to success—and I count myself among them—readily agree.
Green was born into a musical family in Deland, and grew up in Orlando, where her father is a bassist. She began playing the piano at age 5, but she’s been singing since she was a baby. “I fell in love with Thelonious Monk’s music when I was 11 years old,” she says, “and I’ve been studying jazz ever since. I specifically started with his album Brilliant Corners [released in 1957] and the album Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane,” recorded in 1957, arguably the greatest year in history for that genre.
Her initial training was under Jamey Aebersold and Debbie Clifton, before polishing her skills under Lynne Arriale and Bunky Green at UNF. “The reason I am here today, however, is because of the great Mulgrew Miller,” she says. “He was an incredible human being and created his own language on the instrument and with his compositions. I would not be here today without him.” The pianist was a visiting artist at UNF and helped smooth her passage to William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. While there, she furthered her training under James Weidman and Harold Mabern.
After completing her studies, she moved to New York in 2014. “I’d dreamed of moving to NYC since I was about 15 years old when I was starting to really fall in love with jazz,” she says. “So when I was already in New Jersey, I figured it just made sense to hop over the bridge and hope for the best.” Her instincts were correct: It wasn’t long before she was getting bookings in the city’s resurgent jazz scene, which is suffused with talent from this area. In the subsequent three years, she’s performed in such hip, happening, historic spots as The Blue Note, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (in Lincoln Center, no less), Minton’s Playhouse (where bebop was born in the early ’40s), Mezzrow, Smalls Jazz Club, The Django NYC, Zinc Bar New York, Fat Cat, The Bitter End, Bowery Electric, Rockwood Music Hall, The Flatiron Room, Fine & Rare and the venerable Apollo Theater, as well as gigs in places as diverse as Orlando, San Rafael, Hartford and Medellin, Colombia.
That’s an impressive CV for an artist of any age, but it’s downright stunning for someone so young. Green’s eponymous trio is currently working at Cleopatra’s Needle on the Upper West Side every Sunday, running a jam session for the second half of the night, which lets her give back to the business that’s given her so much. Playing piano while singing is not as easy as it looks (consider: Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.). “It’s extremely hard to do both and be completely free with both at the same time,” she says. “To have good vocal technique and phrase freely while accompanying on piano and playing with the rhythm section is very challenging, but I like to challenge myself.”
In the grand tradition of great jazz records, Life Rearranged was recorded over the course of two days in late 2016, live, in-studio with no overdubs. She brought a band comprising the crème de la crème of New York’s session musicians, including McBride, whom she met while working for his nonprofit, Jazz House Kids, up in Montclair. His nickname for her is “Wynton Kelly Green,” a nod to Wynton Kelly, pianist on Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blue. She pulled from an archive of roughly 50 songs she’s written so far, filling out the set with tunes by Frank Loesser, Paulette Girard, Sammy Cahn and Cole Porter.
“My favorite song is always one that I just recently learned,” she says. “Right now, it’s probably ‘Tongue Twister’ by Mulgrew Miller, for which we have a special trio arrangement. I also love ‘Conception’ by George Shearing.” With one foot firmly planted in the music’s vast history, and the other striding boldly into the future, Kelly Green is keeping ahead of the beat, with no ceiling on her potential. Her success further illustrates the level of talent Northeast Florida has been producing, for years now, with much
more to come.
by Shelton Hull - Jacksonville, FL
Link to article: http://folioweekly.com/stories/greens-energy,18857
San Francisco Classical Voice
Kelly Green Is Hip
On the opening night of her four-night stay at the Black Cat, vocalist/pianist Kelly Green proved she was hip enough both to deliver jazz comic material like Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough’s 1966 hit, “I’m Hip” and to command the attention of those chatty hipsters and millennials who come to the suave Tenderloin boite more for social than for musical purposes.
Green is relatively new to big-league jazz — her debut, self-produced album, Life Rearranged, was on display against the lid prop of the venue’s baby grand — but her song list, filling up to four sets a night, ranged from prewar Broadway to a post-bop outing by her onetime mentor, Mulgrew Miller, and her own austere, postmodern originals. Educated at the University of North Florida and William Paterson University (from which she graduated in 2014), Green has culled support and admiration from the latter’s faculty member Cecil Bridgewater, as well as bassist Christian McBride, who appears on her album.
Squired by bassist Alex Tremblay and drummer Evan Hyde, both contemporaries, Green sounded and looked best to my ears and eyes as the funny girl next door, garbed in an alluring Parisian outfit from Kate Spade (for whom she’d played at a fashion show) but eager to clamber over the fourth wall in the goal of celebrating and sharing her material. Her voice was girlishly airy, with little vibrato and a canny way of channeling, not imitating, some of her vocalist idols, including Blossom Dearie (who first recorded “I’m Hip”) and Billie Holiday. Green’s delivery of Lady Day’s “Ghost of a Chance” inspired one among a bourgeoning bunch of attentive fans to yell out, “Sing that song, sing that song!” For “It Might As Well Be Spring,” Green seemed almost to borrow the chirrup of the robin, with an effect both charming and humorous.
The fun extended into Green’s piano solos, which also proved dexterous (she somehow managed hand signals to the venue’s wandering sound mixer man while executing a prestissimo solo on Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me”) and displayed her awesome physical strength -- her block open fourths on her own ecological plea, “Daily Lies,” evoked the dynamism of McCoy Tyner.
I’d noted during the warmup to the first set, that the level of Green’s mic seemed low for her breathy style and her natural, clipped enunciation. Alas, this never got corrected, making it at times difficult to get the lyrics, particularly when drummer Hyde was at full throttle. On the album, which features several songs heard at the Black Cat, along with fascinating interstitial subway sounds (Green has been living in Harlem for three-and-a-half years), everything is delightfully discernible.
As with the singer herself, the trio showed best and brightest in particular portions of their varied repertoire. Tremblay, soloing, elicited conversational phrasing from his bass on “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” and sounded the instrument’s lyricism for “The End of the Love Affair.” While Green worked a modern tickle into Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose,” Hyde showcased the tonal potential of his drum kit, as well as fascinating polyrhythmic patterns, before reverting to orthodox and lusty boogie behind Green’s healthy stride. Among her many talents, Green comped sensitively behind her bandmates, with whom she’s been touring for most of the last year and will be recording her first trio album soon.
You’ll want to sit up close and enjoy one of the Black Cat’s specialty cocktails, such as the New Antidote (a smoky mixture of mezcal, scotch, and lemon), as you savor intimately Green’s uniquely engaging and unaffected performance style. Her love of music-making and of her audience is as warmly undeniable as it is rare in this hypercompetitive digital age. For her final set Tuesday, Green invited in such Bay Area colleagues as vocalist Amy Dabalos (with whom she shared the lyrics of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek”) for a jam like those she hosts weekly back on the Upper West Side, at Cleopatra’s Needle. Not surprisingly, Green is also sharing the love with the next generation as a mentor in the Jazz House Kids program, established by Christian McBride and his vocalist wife Melissa Walker and based across the Hudson in Montclair, New Jersey.
Fritz Quattlebaum, the Black Cat’s founder and co-owner, is to be commended for importing to San Francisco his experience with swank New York venues, as well as a series of jazz entertainers better known in the Big Apple. Though he professes to be looking toward the “next thing” in jazz, we hope that he’ll continue to bring us some of the good things jazz has already generated, so freshly showcased by Kelly Green.
by Jeff Kaliss - Link to original article: https://www.sfcv.org/reviews/none/kelly-green-is-hip
Kelly Green Trio : "Volume One" Reviews
Pianist/composer/vocalist Kelly Green released her debut recording, Life Rearranged (Self Produced, 2017) not so long ago by today's output standards. On that recording she revealed herself capable of performing in a variety of formats, with a variety of accompanists. Presently, Green provides us the hopefully-entitled Kelly Green Trio, Volume One, tacitly promising more volumes to come. This is a good thing, because I just figured out the really great thing about Green...well, everything. Mostly, though, Greens voice and singing style are a fortuitous package deal providing beautifully conversational singing with a solid range and certain expression. Volume One is a seven-song collection with six standards and a single, clever original "Daily Lies." The disc opens with a lengthy consideration (9-minutes plus) that is a revelation. Revealed are all of the charms of Green's voice and her orchestral piano style. Bassist Alex Tremblay provides a reliable pulse and excellent solos, as does drummer Evan Hyde . The three easily navigate the Charles Mingus/Joni Mitchell mashup of "The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines" and the deft be bop of Charlie Parker's "Marmaduke" coupled with Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," appropriate as both are contrafacts of "I Got Rhythm," but it is Green and her wonderfully sardonic, casual and amiable deliver that makes the day. I am so glad there will be a Volume Two.
- C. Michael Bailey , ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Jazz CD Review: The Kelly Green Trio — Flexing Musical Muscles
Kelly Green and her trio are essentially mainstream players, but they explore a lot of challenging territory within that framework.
Volume One is the first album release for vocalist and pianist Kelly Green as a trio with Alex Tremblay on bass and Evan Hyde on drums. They maintain a high level of group communication throughout this superb recording.
The trio takes an unorthodox approach to the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer standard “I’m Old Fashioned.” The song begins with bowed bass and piano; Green’s sung tag to the intro are the words at the end of the song. After this brief vocal, piano returns to a vamp which previews the changes the group has made to the tune’s harmony. The trio moves into the body of the performance in a medium tempo, building in some rhythmic changes that are well-synched. Green’s approach is to sing one section of the song, play a brief instrumental interlude, and then continue to the next section. Once the entire chorus is done, she solos on piano.
Although various influences are present in her playing, Green has developed a distinctive voice. She makes use of various pianistic techniques, but it seems to me she is predominantly interested in melody. Tremblay solos well on bass and the vocal returns. Green’s vocal approach is a pleasing combination of the “singerly” and the declamatory. This strategy enables her to highlight some of the lyrics, lines that she then often echoes with emphasis on the piano. This performance is an unusual yet convincing interpretation of a much-performed song.
“I Wish I knew” by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon was covered by vocal stars in the ’40s; it continues to be performed by jazz musicians. I would argue that Green’s version hearkens to the Coltrane interpretation on his 1963 Ballads recording. She performs the verse; for me, that is always a point in a musician’s favor. Green draws on different timbres of her voice here: a shade of Blossom Dearie here, a shade of Carmen McCrae there. After a chorus, she doubles the tempo and takes a more strictly instrumental approach, playing with the time and the melody. Her solo here takes a spacious direction, a la Ahmad Jamal. It builds in intensity and chills again as it leads into Tremblay’s bass solo. His solo often alludes to the melody, providing graceful embellishments. Green then trades “4’s” with Hyde’s drums. They are clearly comfortable with each other’s playing and listen carefully to each other. Vocal comes back in, toying with the melody for a chorus and halving the time before it goes back to the original ballad tempo. Green flexes her vocal muscles with just her piano for accompaniment, ending with an impassioned tag.
“Daily Lies” is a Green original. Piano sets up a complicated ostinato intro with shimmering drums and then moves into medium tempo for the tune. The lyrics are obliquely political, set to a melody that moves between major and minor: “Tell me that you have learned your lesson now, but not unless it’s the truth. I don’t know why you tell those daily lies, seems like it don’t bother you.” The bridge sets up a clear contrast in tonality, rhythm, and lyrics: “Yesterday seems like a dream come true to every boy and girl. How can we safely redeem our world and save our Mother Earth?” Green’s piano solo takes a dramatic turn here, definitely McCoy Tyner-influenced, with heavy pedal tones and tremolos. An extended Hyde drum solo is restrained, keeping to the dark, even paranoid, quality of the tune. The piano ostinato brings us back to a restatement of the melody and an ending that seems almost cut off. It works.
“My Ideal” by Leo Robin, Richard A. Whiting, and Newell Chase dates back to 1930. Green treats it as a very slow ballad — piano alone. Her vocal approach is understated, even somewhat wistful, and her piano accompaniment is deft, making the most of the song’s harmonic structure.
“The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines” comes from the jazz-oriented side of Joni Mitchell. It’s a comedic, scat-type tune, albeit with a critical-cultural edge. Nice bass solo here from Tremblay and deft brushwork on drums. Green does a fine job with the vocal. She doesn’t stray too far from Mitchell’s approach — except there’s more full-bore scatting.
Maybel Wayne and Kim Gannon’s “I Understand” is a torcher. The song lyrically fits into the mold of “Don’t Explain.” The sentiment is not so much about masochistically accepting abuse, but about trying to deal with someone whose affections have cooled. There may be times when Green’s elaborations on the melody detract, but by and large, she reaches way down and successfully draws on the emotional depths of the song.
The group saves the bopper for the end. The number combines the Charlie Parker tune “Marmaduke” with the song whose harmony it is based on — Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose.” I’m assuming that Green wrote these lyrics for “Marmaduke.” Piano starts out stating the melody to “Marmaduke” in octaves and then, teamed with the bass, goes into “Honeysuckle Rose”. Green takes the melody pretty straight and then goes into her piano solo, which demonstrates that she deeply understands the tune’s harmony. Bass solos, and then piano does 4’s with the drummer. “Marmaduke” comes back and then comes Green’s strutting piano take on “Honeysuckle,” which is joined by her vocal.
Green and her trio are essentially mainstream players, but they explore a lot of challenging territory within that framework, moving with ease from torch songs and revamps of standards to originals and bop. Green has real piano chops and, as a singer, she is impressively restless, exploring various corners of her vocal equipment — and emotional palette — to create a compelling vocal style.
The New York City Jazz Record
Review by Scott Yanow
The Kelly Green Trio opens its debut album, Volume One, with an almost 10-minute rendition of the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer chestnut “I’m Old-Fashioned” that establishes the opposite premise of the lyric. Subtly reharmonizing the standard, the ensemble sounds anything but out of date, streamlining Kern’s already compressed melody without detracting from the beauty of his ingenious line. It’s a performance that sets a high bar, which Kelly mostly meets through a program full of songs from the first half of the 20th century.
As a pianist, vocalist, arranger, and bandleader, Green maintains a rare balance, interacting with her trio while serving as her own foil. Guided by Evan Hyde’s sure and supple drum work and Alex Tremblay’s bass, the group applies its organically state-of-the-art dynamic to an intriguing array of settings. At more than nine minutes, Harry Warren and Mack Gordon’s 1945 hit “I Wish I Knew” gets an expansive treatment similar to Kern, as the group drills down into the song’s wistful and uncertain mood.
The album’s only original, Green’s topical plaint “Daily Lies,” offers a glimpse of her as a composer with a strong melodic sense and a singer with a good feel for material that fits her well and a sound that can take on shades of early Betty Carter without the gymnastics. The trio tightens up the action with a focused version of “My Ideal” and a galloping romp on Joni Mitchell’s “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines.” The rousing closer, a Bird-meets-Fats medley of “Marmaduke” and “Honeysuckle Rose,” seems designed to elicit a well-deserved encore. Bring on Volume Two.
By: Andrew Gilbert
Russian Review : Jazz Quad
“I had the opportunity to play with Kelly Green’s trio and I was very impressed with her and each of the individuals in her group. I can see that the Kelly Green Trio is going to be one of the most outstanding groups in New York City. This album will be quite successful and will receive high ratings! I am looking forward to hearing it myself!”
-NEA Jazz Master, George Coleman
“ Kelly Green is one of the most talented & spirited people I know. Everything about her is joyous and swingin'! ”
-Christian McBride, renowned jazz bassist
"A talented young lady, Kelly Green...you're gonna be hearing a lot more from her!"
-Harold Mabern, renowned jazz pianist
"I have many adopted musical children and Kelly is one that rises to the top! She has such an empowered flare of diplomacy and elegance musically!"
-Johnny O'Neal, renowned jazz pianist/vocalist
"I've watched her musical growth closely during her studies here at UNF and she is very impressive. She completely understands the jazz language and puts it all together in a uniquely fresh way. Additionally, she writes and composes her own material and lyrics. Her maturity for her years is quite striking, that is to say that she plays with an abundance of feeling. I attended her senior recital and was immediately aware of the fact that I was listening to a potential star. She's a free spirit, an artist and she's going all the way to the top. Without the slightest hesitation I highly endorse her. Kelly is a winner!"
-Bunky Green, Jazz Saxophonist, former Director of Jazz Studies at University of North Florida
"It has been a pleasure and an honor to have Kelly Green as a member of our masters program, and as a member of the WP Jazz Orchestra. She was a consistently great student, but also someone who always played and acted like a true professional. She has a wonderful musical essence, takes care of business at the piano in many styles, and is a passionate singer who commands attention and respect onstage. She's one of those people whose spirit can change an entire musical community - that was true at William Paterson, and I look forward to seeing that extend through what I know will be a great career."
-Dr. David Demsey, Jazz Saxophonist, Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University