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The great names in the forefront of Jazz in the 50s and 60s (Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley) agreed on one thing at least. For them the strongest and most supportive piano accompanist was, without doubt Wynton Kelly. Fellow pianist Bill Evans also was full of praise for the Jamaican born New Yorker and said after one of his concerts: "Nothing about it seemed calculated .. there was just pure spirit shining through the conception".  Born in Jamaica but raised mainly in New York, Kelly made his first leader recordings for Blue Note at the age of 19 in mid-1951. The pianist also worked with Lester Young, Dinah Washington and Dizzy Gillespie during the '50s. Having played on dozens of other people's records, Kelly went into the studio under his own name and recorded several classy albums for Riverside, notably "Piano" featuring Kenny Burrell Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones drums, and "Kelly Blue" with Nat Adderley, Benny Golson and the rhythm section of the Miles Davis Quintet (Kelly was to join Davis the next year) which featured Jimmy Cobb on drums and Paul Chambers. This trio recorded extensively, amongst others with Wes Montgomery George Coleman and Freddy Hubbard. Kelly then featured on one track of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue", one of the greatest Jazz albums of all time (Bill Evans is the pianist on the rest of the album). Wynton Kelly was a subtle and inventive player whose work denotes his awareness both of his contemporaries and of the piano masters of an earlier generation. Although perhaps not a house-hold name, Kelly certainly had a lot of admirers amongst fellow musicians. Fellow pianist Ellis Marsalis for example respected Kelly so much that he named one of his sons after him.

Recommended recordings
Kelly Blue OJC 033-2 - Riverside 1142
Piano OJC 401-2 - Riverside 254
Wynton Kelly Collectables Records
Someday my Prince will come Collectables Records
Smokin at the Half Note Verve
Full View OJC
Four (with Joe Henderson) Verve
Dizzy Atmosphere OJC
Takin' Charge Le Jazz
It's All Right Verve
Last Trio Session Delmark