b. USA. As a child, Kelly showed considerable musical aptitude. Later, she studied classical piano, clarinet and voice at the Eastman School of Music. To this she added drama and dance studies. By the time that she began to make an impression on the club circuit in New York state, she had turned herself into an immensely talented all-round entertainer, singing and playing piano, bass and drums. Her repertoire is eclectic, drawing from jazz and pop, stage and cabaret; her performing style is similarly varied as she adapts herself to suit both material and audience. She has played at many important venues, performing with symphony orchestras as well as jazz groups. Among artists with whom she has worked are Benny Goodman and Nelson Riddle. Her recording debut, Live Jazz, which found her in good jazz company, including Peter Erskine and Ernie Watts, reached number 11 in the Billboard jazz charts in 1988.
Not as well known as her talent suggests she should be, Kelly interestingly, and accurately, regards herself as an entertainer in the mould of artists of an earlier generation. Three albums in three decades in hardly prolific but Kelly chooses her material carefully and does not flood the market with inferior work.