Listen and learn with Nancy Kelly

Jazz singer Nancy Kelly. (Courtesy of CNY Jazz)

Jazz singer Nancy Kelly. (Courtesy of CNY Jazz)

The folks at CNY Jazz are all worked up about this weekend.

Nancy Kelly is taking over their cozy downtown Syracuse theater Saturday and Sunday.

The popular vocalist will host the organization’s fall Vocal Jazz Jam and Stars of Tomorrow Cabaret.

Not only can guests see and hear Kelly’s distinctive voice and style, but they’ll also be able to catch up-and-coming talent as they put what Kelly teaches them into action.

Says the news release sent out by Kimberly Rossi:

This year the October program will be the first of two editions. Another will be held on April 23 and 24.

The Vocal Jazz Jam and Stars of Tomorrow Cabaret is one of CNY Jazz Central’s longest running educational programs. The two-day event gives aspiring jazz singers the chance to perform songs with a live band, receive one-on-one coaching and add to their performance credentials and resume.

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24th, Kelly will be at Jazz Central to work with vocalists in a friendly, supportive master-class environment, accompanied by Andrew Carroll on piano. The event is open to anyone, including high school and college-age vocalists and adults. For students, the New York State School Music Association ( has a recommended list of songs they should choose from. Other vocalists are encouraged to prepare any song from the “Great American Songbook.” Admission to the Saturday workshop is $20 for participants and $10 for observers.

Starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25, each singer from the Saturday workshop is invited back to perform their song with the CNY Jazz Trio at the “Stars of Tomorrow Cabaret.” Nancy Kelly will close the show with a not-to-be-missed performance. The public is invited to attend the event. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 with student ID. Bar service is available and snacks will be served in the lobby.

“These sessions have been under the radar as exciting public events for a decade,” said Larry Luttinger, organizer. “They’re extremely entertaining and fun. Professionals like Scott Dennis, Will Gorman and Anna Vogel have come from the ranks of this program, and the public is sure to see more emerging talent at every year’s event. I especially recommend the cabaret. We set up the theater with ringside tables and do it up right, just like a New York City supper club. The crowd is incredibly supportive, the atmosphere electric, and Nancy always sings a short set to end the evening.”

For more information about the event, call 315-479-5299, email or visit

Here’s a YouTube clip of Nancy Kelly performing.

Have you ever performed in a vocal group, and if so, what were the circumstances? Have you ever watched a seasoned professional work with students, and if so, what do you think was learned? How’s your favorite jazz singer, and why?

25 thoughts on “Listen and learn with Nancy Kelly

  1. Long ago I was in choir, for 6 years. I enjoyed it.
    I watch Sassy’s orchestra teacher all the time. She’s an expert. I am amazed at how quickly students in her class progress with their instruments. I feel like Sassy is so lucky to have her teacher. I’m going over there this morning for a casual parents’ concert, and I’m quite excited 🙂
    It’s hard to pick favorite artists, but I’ve been on a Diane Schuur kick lately, particularly Rain or Shine.


  2. Mmm lets see, I grew up listening to the old jazz – my Dad is big into jazz. I love Fats Waller, Count Basie, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald just to name a few. As far as me being in a vocal group, tee-hee, never, ever.


  3. How exciting that the participants from the workshop will actually be getting a chance to perform. Believe it or not, my musical experience, and even my children’s have never been so cultured and high end. Sounds like a real treat for performers as well as the audience.


  4. Nancy got me moving in my chair, haha. That was great! and she does a terrific trombone.

    I think there is a fine line between jazz vocals and blues, There are too many to choose from but I’ll say Dinah Washington and Joe Williams for two of them. For modern singers it has to be Amy Winehouse. What a singer, and what a waste for her to go so quickly. She had a great control over her voice.


  5. looks like a great weekend ahead of you. thanks for posting the video as well – I bet the students attending the master class will learn a lot and have a great deal of fun along the way. I assume from comments above that you will not be taking part!


  6. Actually, I have. I have been singing all my life including performing at weddings and the like. But only have added jazz to my repertoire in the last decade. Before that it was all classical, traditional, and folk. :-D. I will enjoy Nancy Kelly. Thank you!


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