Kelly Brand - Pianist, Composer, and Teacher                                                                                             

Brand has been an active performer on the Chicago jazz scene, playing frequent club and concert dates. In 1999 Kelly joined Marion McPartland on stage at Ravinia for some impromptu double piano jazz playing. Ms. McPartland earlier wrote for Brand's first CD “a fine young pianist who plays with elegance and sensitivity.”

 

Kelly is also an experienced teacher and clinician. She has taught privately for 2 decades. She studied piano at the U of I in Champaign/Urbana where she received a B.S. in music education, and continued to study piano with the late great Chicago teacher Goldie Golub. She has taught at the Merit School of Music and was a teaching artist in the Ravinia Music Discovery Program. She currently plays and clinics in Chicago schools with Pangaea featuring Ari Brown, Kelly Sill, and Avreeayl Ra . They are sponsored by the International Music Foundation, an umbrella group of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

 

Since 2001, Brand has been given five residencies at Ragdale, an internationally acclaimed artists' retreat. She was one of the ten top Chicago jazz pianists who performed at Symphony Center for Marshall Field’s Great Day of Music in 2003.  She has also performed at the Jazz Showcase and played on Joe Segal’s  All Star Caribbean Jazz Cruise. She has played a number of times at Ravinia and the Chicago Jazz Festival both as a leader and sideman.

 

Brand’s latest 2008 CD, The Door on the Origin label, includes nine of her compositions and one Wayne Shorter song with her lyrics.The accomplished musicians in her current Nextet are Art Davis on trumpet, Geof Bradfield on saxes,  Kelly Sill on bass,  Jon Deitemyer on drums, and MariAnn Jaime vocalist on  three songs. Neil Tesser in Jazzis writes ”The latest and best album by Chicago pianist/composer Kelly Brand ... good stories told simply and well". Robert Doerschuk of Downbeat says, “This group sizzles and swings through ten Brand originals ...The material is built for blowing.”

 

 Her 2000 CD, Sister Luna on the Chicago Lakeside Jazz label was well received.  From www. All AboutJazz.com - "Brand's second album is as tastefully cooked as her first,” referring to A Dream in a Stone as her 1996 release on the Koch label. About this all original CD Lloyd Sachs of the Chicago Sun Times wrote "Brand has a flowing winsome style as a pianist and an even more impressive harmonic sense as a composer." Jazz Tracks 1997: "The arrangements are both soulful and deeply involved.”

 

Brand's playing and writing is also represented on compilation CDs, including the 90s Enja release Ladies in Jazzland, which includes Abbey Lincoln and Maria Schneider. She is also on the CD Women who swing Chicago, and Mile by Jazz Mile, both featuring top Chicago jazz artists.

 

"The composer and pianist Kelly Brand writes songs which carry the listener to places simultaneously evident and quite unfamiliar. She effectively taps into essential elements of living and being human. Brand's way of playing embraces a simple and selfless honesty. She doesn't throw her music at you, but rather extends it as an invitation." - Kelly Sill