The following reviews and quotes come from a variety of jazz sources, as well as San Francisco bay area publications and Web sites.

For more information about Frankye Kelly, please review the other sections on this Web site, or complete her contact on the left side of this page to submit any specific questions or requests.

















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Two new letters of recommendation are now available -- please click here to read these responses to recent performances.


Frankye Kelly Sings Songs For My Father by Scott Yanow, March 2007 issue of LA Jazz Scene


There are many fine jazz singers based in the San Francisco Bay area but, based on the music included on Sings Songs For My Father, Frankye Kelly ranks at the top. She has a wide range, both in notes and in expressive qualities, is a fine inproviser and can really swing.

Ms Kelly sings a wide range of standards plus the blues "Next Time You See Me" and Basia's " Astrud". There are times, particularly on "Midnight Sun" and a playful "Satin Doll", when she sounds  a bit like Sarah Vaughan. But in general Frankye Kelly displays an original style that on this program is based in the tradition.

Among the highlights are "Song For My Father", "Secret Love", "Midnight Sun", an emotional " I'll Be Seeing You" and Abbey Lincoln"s "Throw It Away" (which has happily become a standard in recent years). There is a great deal of feeling, whether it be joy or a sly sense of humor or sadness, displayed throughout the memorable effort.

While Frankye Kelly has thus far recorded three CDs, the well-paced Sings Songs For My Father is the one to get first.  It serves as a perfect introduction to the talented singer and is available from

Scott Yanow

The Night Is Young - Frankye Kelly (Sonoma Jazz)
By Dave Nathan

Another member of the large and talented clutch of San Francisco vocalists, Frankye Kelly has released her first album for the Sonoma Jazz Label. A live performance that reveals a debt to Sarah  Vaughan that comes through on all the cuts, especially on one of Vaughan's more notable recordings, "Tenderly". Kelly avoids those exaggerated swoops, swirls and jumps between octaves that characterized Vaughan's singing which bordered on an affectation in the Divine One's later years.

Kelly has her own style of phrasing and emphasis which comes through on such cuts as "I'm Glad There Is You". There are some eloquent vibes and piano by Yancie Taylor and Dee Spencer, respectively, on this track. A tour de force is Kelly's work on "No Moon at All" where she mixes monotone with her unique way of moving between octaves. Very effective presentation.

Kelly is accompanied by very fine musicians who not only give strong support, but enhance the performance with expressive and knowledgeable solos. Not the least of these is the tough tenor  playing a la Illinois Jacquet by Steve Heckman on "Our Day Will Come". Heckman picks up his  soprano to provide the trappings for Kelly's sumptuous rendition of "Speak Low". In addition to her work on ballads, Kelly can do the blues with the best of them as she shows on Albert Collins'  "If Trouble Was Money" with Heckman's honking, screeching tenor and Zim Bob Braye doing the  R&B clump, clump on drums.

Judging from the response of the audience, everyone went away happy. Recommended. 

Track Listing: Our Day Will Come; Mood Indigo; The Night is Young; Tenderly;  Lullaby of Birdland; I'm Glad There is You; No Moon At All; Speak Low; Love For Sale;  If Trouble Was Money Personnel: Frankye Kelly - Vocal; Steve Heckman - Soprano and Tenor sax; Dee Spencer - Piano; Mark "Hashima" Williams- Bass; Zim Bob Braye - Drums; Yancie Taylor - Vibraphone

All About Jazz - - The Place for Jazz

Frankye Kelly has discovered the essence of Jazz: finding a tune and making it your own. Whether it's blues, Latin, or a standard, the gracious, affable Kelly wraps her velvety voice around a melody the way you wrap aluminum foil around a baked potato-tightly and neatly.

Elizabeth Goodwin - Jazz Now - The World Jazz Magazine,  Vol 4, Number 6, Women in Jazz

Frankye Kelly
The Night is Young

Vocalist Frankye Kelly's disc is a very enjoyable live set, recorded at Kimball's West. Warm and soulful, with good intonation, Kelly shows off good instincts throughout. Her title tune, co-written with pianist Dee Spencer, has a nice mid-period Coltrane Quartet feel to it, heightened by a distinctive Steve Heckman soprano solo. Heckman stretches out impressively on tenor on an extended "Tenderly" with a dark, muscular quality reminiscent of Britisher Tommy Smith. Kelly pays tribute to her late cousin, blues prince Albert Collins, on the closing Collins minor blues; Heckman avoids the tried King Curtis-isms commonly found on such set closers, opting for a potent, Coltrane-ish approach. Kelly brings little new to the nicely-chosen program, but she and her saxophonist are a real pleasure to listen to, and the disc is a good record of a club date.   

Larry Nai - Cadence May 2000 review

Ms. Frankye Kelly Has Her Standards

Ms. Frankye Kelly, a jazz vocalist, craves new interpretations of standards every night at the Townhouse, making her somewhat of a standard herself. Her pianist, Mark Little, says she's following in the tradition of Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.

The Oakland Tribune - Thursdaybest

Afrikahn Jahmal Dayvs, KKUP, KPFA,

There's magic in the air, when I listen to Fankye Kelly sing, whether it's live or one of her great CD's. I'm smiling and thinking she's lush and full of life, with style and sass. Do yourself a favor, check her out, and put some magic in your life. Afrikahn Jahmal Dayvs