Successful child prodigies have been a rare occurrence in the world of jazz, but saxophonist, vocalist and composer Grace Kelly seems destined to defy the odds. Her debut as a leader, recorded at the age of twelve for her family's Pazz label, is an impressive beginning, mostly emphasizing her singing but also displaying her surprising alto sax. How many music students of her age are confident enough to tackle singing Nat King Cole's "Straighten Up and Fly Right," Charlie Chaplin's tearjerker ballad "Smile," plus instrumentals like Hoagy Carmichael's timeless "Stardust" and Wayne Shorter's snappy hard bop vehicle "One by One" all on one CD? There are reservations, including the occasional overdubbed vocals, the lack of experience to believably interpret certain lyrics, and the pop orientation of some of her originals. But make no mistake, Grace Kelly is the real deal, as expressed on numerous occasions by supportive mentors like Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Jerry Bergonzi and other seasoned jazz veterans who can verify that she has both the burning desire and the ability to make it as a professional jazz artist.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden