Kelley Suttenfield

Kelley Suttenfield, an acoustic jazz singer, is renowned for her rich resonance and graceful approach. Her style is easygoing and patient. Each note is given with great care. Every phrase is thoughtfully written and delivered without rushing. Her easygoing, relaxed presence invites listeners to linger longer and lean in closer. Carol Banks Weber, a writer, said that Kelley “breathes in her own loving, sensitive, and reverent personality into every lyric.” Kelley teamed up with Tony Romano, her long-time collaborator, to create a serene aural landscape that is emphasized by space and delicacy. The CD includes a variety of songs, including Neal Young’s “Harvest Moon”, and the Bart Howard “Fly Me To the Moon”. Simple arrangements allow for ample interplay between Tony’s string work and Kelley’s soft vocals. Mark S. Tucker, reviewer, referred to the voice/guitar duo “one of most dangerous outings of music” and said that Kelley and Tony “match perfectly”. Dee Dee Daniel (, echoes this sentiment, saying that Kelley’s performances are extensive in New York City as well as on the East Coast. She has performed at many notable venues, including Jazz at Kitano and The Iridium in New York City. In London, she also appeared at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. She has performed at many venues in Europe, and was once a featured artist with the Great Danes Big Band during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. She was also a finalist in the NYC Jazzmobile Vocal Jazz Competition. Her debut CD, “Where is Love?” (Rhombus Records), was released to great critical acclaim in 2009. The 12-track album, co-produced by Andrea Wolper and Kelley, features a wide range of jazz standards as well as pop songs. Kelley’s vocals are dazzling and the CD reflects her inherent sensibility for choosing the right material. This is something that has been a hallmark of her work. George W. Harris (JazzWeekly), wrote that Kelley sings “mostly Jazz”, but she refuses to be classified as a solo jazz singer. She says that sometimes it can be limiting. Although her jazz background helps her approach, her expressive range is much wider. She is versatile and has a keen eye for new musical territory. For example, her arrangement of “Nature Boy”, (“Where is Love”), fuses the progression with Carnatic vocal pattern, giving this familiar standard a refreshing and decidedly South Indian vibe. She deconstructs the girl-group staple “One Fine Day” (“Among The Stars”) into a solitary requiem for unrequited love. Kelley also loves the use of time, and she often arranges songs with unusual meters. Kelley believes time is another way to make a statement. She can use that space as a “third vocal” and every song she performs, whether it’s a folk classic, jazz standard or show tune, has the potential for being something completely new. Kelley, like many singers, grew up in a church. Kelley was raised in rural Virginia by her grandfather, a small-town minister who was also a two-term mayor. She attended Sunday services as a child and sang with the choir. This informal training was a foundation for her singing in school choirs, where she was often the featured singer. She also began piano lessons at six years old. She won many state piano competitions. Kelley was also an accomplished thespian, and she performed in numerous community theater productions. After high school, Kelley continued to act and was awarded a college scholarship. She eventually graduated with honors with a dual degree, in theater and psychology. Kelley moved to New York City because of her life circumstances. She started listening to jazz and began to notice other vocalists like Shirley Horn, Karrin Allenyson, Nora Jones and Madeleine Peyroux. The music’s longevity struck a chord with Kelley and she felt a strong connection to it. The trajectory was set. One of Kelley Suttenfield’s most distinctive qualities as an artist is her intentionality. She is meticulous in all she does, whether she is rearranging a phrase or whispering soft lyrics. She says that she chooses songs that are timeless and can be delivered authentically. Kelley is a regular performer at nightclubs, concert halls, and other venues across New York City and the East Coast. Her future plans include a tour across the West Coast and Europe, as well as a return to studio for another recording. from

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