, Salem, MA

December 12, 2013

A Graceful celebration at Temple Sinai

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — Temple Sinai in Marblehead is celebrating its 60th anniversary, but they aren’t tooting their own horn.

Instead, saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly will blow her horn at a concert and celebration at the temple this Saturday.

Kelly, who grew up in Brookline, graduated from Berklee College of Music at age 19.

“My parents always played a lot of Stan Getz, and he’s one of my favorites,” Kelly said. “I played classical music at 6, but I hated practicing and reading notes on the page.”

She experimented with playing different instruments as she went through school.

“In fourth grade I played clarinet at school, because they let you pick out an instrument,” she said. “But something in my heart said, ‘You should try saxophone.’”

“I think the thing I can relate to is, the sound to me is similar to the human voice. It’s warm,” she said. “The sound is what attracted me to it, then learning improvisation and using it as a tool of expression.”

Kelly has played sax with musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr. and James Cotton, and has recorded nine albums. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center, Tanglewood, and the Newport Jazz Festival, and tours in Europe regularly.

She was also voted Best Jazz Act in Boston for four consecutive years.

Six months ago Kelly moved to Los Angeles, where she is working with producer Stewart Levine.

“It’s a really healthy scene, with great musicianship and versatile musicians,” Kelly said. “There’s lots of recording going on. Everyone in L.A. is in the entertainment business, and that in itself helps me grow.”

Kelly is also an accomplished singer and has been writing her own songs since she was 7.

“Right now it’s a mix of songwriting, but still with improvisation mixed in,” she said. “I’m leaning toward a crossover sound with more grooves, but I’m coming from my roots, where I’ve grown up.

“I’ve studied jazz, and I’ll never take that away from who I am. There are all these different genres that are a strong part of who I am, and we’re trying to figure out a way to combine them.”

Kelly is playing several holiday shows around Boston, in addition to appearing in Marblehead with her quintet.

“It’s going to be doing a mixture of my original songs and some covers of standard songs arranged in a new way,” she said. “It’s a very eclectic show. We take the audience on a journey, and it’s dynamic, it’s very exciting.”

Ira Dinnes, a past president of the Temple who is organizing the event, has seen Kelly perform and expects her to sing as well as play sax.

“She brings a lot of energy,” Dinnes said. “I like how she interacts with her musicians. You feel like you’re watching a group that meshes together well.”

The price of admission will include hors d’oeuvres served buffet style, cocktails and dessert, and Kelly will play two sets.

“There will be a lot of food,” Dinnes said. “There will be about an hour and a half of socializing and party appetizers and cocktails, and she’s going to play a set for 45 minutes. Then we’ll break for dessert for 20 minutes, and then there will be another set.”

If you go ... What: Grace Kelly Quintet at Temple Sinai 60th Anniversary Celebration When: Saturday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m. Where: Temple Sinai, 1 Community Road, Marblehead Tickets & info: $90, includes drinks, hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Parties of 10 can reserve tables in advance. For tickets and information, contact Susan or Josh at 781-631-2763, or email to