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June 30 - Jazz Prodigy - Grace Kelly
With more than a half-century of experience in the jazz world, it would be safe to consider Phil Woods not only one of the music’s living legends but a true aficionado of his fellow instrumentalists. So it speaks volumes that the first time he shared the stage with a then-14-year-old Grace Kelly, he was moved to remove his iconic leather cap and place it on her head – the first time he’d ever made such a gesture to a fellow alto saxophonist.
When it comes to saxophonist /vocalist/composer/lyricist/arranger Grace Kelly, people seem to be divided into two groups: those who marvel at her proficiency, creativity and ever-accelerating growth, and those who have yet to encounter the 19-year-old wunderkind. Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis was so impressed with Kelly’s three-night stand as guest of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra that he invited her to join the ensemble at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. Harry Connick, Jr. heard Kelly in a master class on a December afternoon and brought her on stage to sit in with his band that night. Since then, Kelly has been voted "Best Jazz Act” in Boston three consecutive years in the FNX/Phoenix Best Music Poll, received the ASCAP Foundation’s Young Jazz Composers Award in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 and won "Jazz Artist of the Year” at the Boston Music Awards in both 2008 and 2010. The 2009, and 2010, Downbeat Critics Poll added to her list naming her one of the "Alto Saxophone Rising Stars”, the youngest ever to be named so.
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