Saxophonist extraordinaire, vocalist and composer Grace Kelly releases her new album, Trying To Figure It Out, on February 19th. Although steeped in Jazz, it marks an adventure in sound for this 23-year old, exploring the world of Jazz & Beyond that takes the listener on a thought provoking and engaging musical journey. Starting from acoustic jazz and cinematic compositions driven by mood and sound effects, the album then moves to a genre-bending sound with contemporary production, groove, and songwriting - always mixed with improvisation. This new project reflects her evolutionary development as a musician and extraordinary range as a composer, arranger, songwriter, and bandleader expressing her vision for Jazz & Beyond. The release of Trying To Figure It Out will be accompanied by tour dates both domestically and internationally.
The release of Trying To Figure It Out ties in to the early 2016 premiere of the second season of the much-loved detective series “BOSCH”(based on the NY Times best-selling book series written by Michael Connelly, and the most watched series on Amazon Prime in 2015). The opening track “Blues For Harry Bosch” was written for the Emmy nominated series in which Kelly will appear as herself; the jazz loving title character, an L.A. homicide detective, stops into Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood to see her perform during the show’s second season. Said Bosch author Michael Connelly, "When I hear Grace Kelly play I get inspired."
Her music is infused with a relentless rhythm and energy – qualities I want in my own life. This album is a tour de force of her talent as composer, musician and bandleader and should be a mainstay in today's jazz scene.” Another track on the CD is a remix of “Blues For Harry Bosch” that was produced by uber-popular spin-master, producer and Jazz/Electronica musician Mocean Worker.
Among the many artists and players guesting on the new 13-track CD are Snarky Puppy’s Michael League (“He Shot A Man,” “Magic”) and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’s Musical Director and Band Leader, Jon Batiste. Batiste is featured on “Lemons Make Lemonade,” which he recorded in one take in his dressing room following a taping of Colbert.
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” another track on the CD, is featured in Sound Of Redemption, the long-awaited bio pic about the late great alto saxophonist Frank Morgan with a tumultuous past. He spent three decades in and out of California’s San Quentin Prison and was a mentor to Grace during the last few years of his life. In 2012 Grace performed at a Frank Morgan tribute concert at San Quentin as part of an all-star band featuring Ron Carter, Delfayo Marsalis, Mark Gross, Smitty Smith and George Cables. The experience inspired another track on the album, “He Shot A Man,” which Grace wrote after conversations with various inmates at San Quentin.
Trying To Figure It Out showcases a diverse offering of this talented and charismatic millennial’s take on Jazz & Beyond. On the opening track “Blues for Harry Bosch,” Kelly employs a cinematic jazz style, as pulsing floor toms, guitar effects, subtle muted trumpet and saxophone state the seductive and swanky melody. “By the Grave” weaves through a dark bluesy palate juxtaposed by a haunting music box melody, while "The Other One" rocks with its contemporary electronic production and rising chorus with an urban, trance-like groove. Grace wrote or co-wrote 8 of the tracks featured on the release. Throughout the album, elements of jazz, cinematic sounds, gospel and tasteful production are featured in different tracks. Standards such as “Smile” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” are reinterpreted beautifully by Kelly, as is a version of Coldplay’s “Magic.” By the end she brings us “home” with a soulful gospel- tinged original “Lemons Make Lemonade” featuring the above-mentioned Batiste.
“There is a deep soulfulness and heart to this album. Because of the inspiration it comes from, I feel even more strongly connected to it than any of my past albums.” Grace adds that Trying To Figure It Out was conceived as a carefully mapped story before the outlines were filled-in with songs emphasizing a cohesive and focused theme. “These songs are all tied into stories of people I know, my personal experiences, inmates I've met at San Quentin prison and the multi facets of human emotion. We are all living in this world with different struggles and there is so much music in that,” says Grace. “I wanted the listener to experience the scenes I was seeing in my head through the music. I wanted to convey images of people going through heartache, loss and hopelessness – through perseverance, hope, redemption, joy, and everything in between. The theme of this album is the journey of darkness into light and the emotions that change and evolve throughout."