Kathy Kelly
vibist / composer


photo credit: Glenn Morimoto

Kathy Kelly has been a regular on the Chicago Jazz scene for many years, usually performing in groups dedicated to original jazz. Her vibes playing and compositions have graced many different groups, including her current quartet.

Kelly’s compositions have been influenced by many forms of music and most recently she gathers much of her inspiration from the natural world. Building on the work from her past CD Owls Calling, Kelly continues to be inspired by the sounds of nature. Owls Calling was inspired by hearing two Great Horned Owls calling to each other over some distance on a chilly night in Madison Wisconsin.

During the pandemic Kelly performed with “For the Birds”, a group of musicians who rehearsed for an audience of backyard birds and performed at the Peace Garden in Rogers Park.

Kelly uses her eclectic style, World music sensibility and sense of humor to bring to life the varied compositions on her new CD “Owls Calling" (Kanani Music). The result of a 2015 Individual Arts Program Creative Projects Grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, "Owls Calling" features Kelly’s compositions and vibes, with John Kregor on guitar, Dan DeLorenzo on bass and Andre Beasley on drums.

Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective, Kelly can often be heard premiering new works for the monthly CJCC Sunday afternoon concerts at the Green Mill.

In addition to "Owls Calling" Kelly can be heard on her CD "A Different Vibe" (Kanani Music), and with Asian Fusion group Mothra on "Tradewind" (Chicago Sessions).