James Montgomery Blues Band featuring special guest Grace Kelly
Thursday December 18, 2014 @ 7:00 PM
When blues legend James Montgomery plays the harmonica, he “brings it on home”. Whether it’s recording with Kid Rock, sitting in with Gregg Allman, or fronting his hot band of thirty years, Montgomery plays with authority. While growing up in Detroit he learned first-hand from the masters – James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, and Jr. Wells – at the legendary “Chessmate.” Over the years, he’s carried on in the tradition and continues to be a vital presence in Blues as one of the most dynamic performers on the scene.
In 1970, while attending Boston University, Montgomery formed the James Montgomery Band. His inimitable (oh yeah, he majored in English) harmonica playing combined with his incredibly energetic live shows led to the band’s quick ascension on the New England music scene. Within two years, the James Montgomery band was among the hottest acts in Boston along with J. Geils and Aerosmith, and they were quickly signed to a multi-album deal with Capricorn Records.
Since that time, James has recorded six albums. His first, “First Time Out” has been remastered and re-released by MRG/Capricorn. Other include “James Montgomery Band” on Island Records which was number nine on Billboard’s national playlist, “Duck Fever” with members of the David Letterman Band, “Live Trax,” with the Uptown Horns (the Rolling Stones’ horn section), and his release on Tone-Cool, “The Oven Is On.”
Montgomery has toured with many major artists, including Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, the Allman Brothers, Steve Miller and others. He has jammed on stage with B.B.King, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Jr. Wells, James Cotton, Charlie Daniels, Bonnie Raitt, Greg Allman, Laverne Baker, Patti LaBelle, and Peter Wolf among others, including an impromptu session with Mick Jagger at New York’s “Trax”.
Over the years Montgomery’s band has been a springboard for many musicians. Members of his band have included Billy Squire, Wayne Kramer (MC-5), Jeff Golub (Rod Stewart), Jim McCarty (Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels), Nunzio Signore Bo Diddley), Jeff Pevar (Ray Charles Orchestra, Crosby, Stills & Nash), Bobby Chouinard (drummer with Ted Nugent, Squire and Robert Gordon), Jeff Levine (Joe Cocker), Aerosmith’s Tom Gambel, and many others.
Grace Kelly is a truly unique artist. You have heard the name before from the movies but perhaps you haven’t heard of this 22-year old Korean American singer/songwriter/saxophonist/composer. Grace wrote her first song when she was 7 years old, recorded her first out of 8 independently released CD's at 12, and orchestrated, arranged and performed an original composition with the Boston Pops Orchestra at 14. As a bandleader Grace has performed over 600 concerts worldwide in such notable venues as the Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall and major festivals such as Montreal, Newport, and Montreux and clubs around the world such as Birdland ( New York), Porgy & Bess (Vienna), Ronnie Scott’s (London) and many more. Grace has also performed and/or recorded with artists such as Huey Lewis, Harry Connick Jr, Dave Brubeck, Gloria Estefan, David Sanborn, Questlove, Esperanza Spalding, Phil Woods, James Cotton, and Wynton Marsalis to name a few.
Grace has been featured on CNN.com (Making of a Prodigy), Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women 2011, and multiple appearances on NPR. Grace has also won many awards some of which include multiple, ASCAP Composer Awards, Downbeat Magazine Awards, Boston Music Awards, FNX/Phoenix Best Music Poll, Downbeat Critics Poll added to her list naming her one of the "Alto Saxophone Rising Stars”, the youngest ever to be named so, and multiple International Songwriting Competitions.
“Grace Kelly writes great songs, sings beautifully, is a world class saxophonist, and is going to be a big big star” – Huey Lewis
"Grace Kelly plays with intelligence, wit and feeling. She has a great amount of natural ability and the ability to adapt. That is the hallmark of a first-class jazz musician." – Wynton Marsalis
“As everybody knows, she is a remarkably mature player” – David Sanborn
“Grace is one of the most natural musicians I’ve ever come across. In my eyes Grace is the future” – Stewart Levine