Kim Nalley with the Marcus Shelby Orchestra “The Cole Porter Songbook”; Monday, January 13, 2014

Kim Nalley with the Marcus Shelby Orchestra “The Cole Porter Songbook”

Monday, January 13
Kuumbwa Jazz Center

“…finely tuned powerful voice…”  –

Kim Nalley’s previous tributes to vocal legends Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald – as well as her collaborations with organist Rhoda Scott and saxophonist Houston Person – have won kudos everywhere. And now, Nalley takes on the songs of Cole Porter with expert assistance from the Marcus Shelby Orchestra. Led by bassist Marcus Shelby, the 17-piece ensemble has been a Bay Area staple for over three-and-a-half decades, and they can swing with the best. With Nalley’s outstanding vocals, and the Marcus Shelby Orchestra’s impeccable arrangements, Cole Porter never sounded so good.

Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Kim Nalley grew up in a household where the love of music was second nature. Her first piano teacher was her great-grandmother. In her teens, Nalley studied opera and theater. Along the way she became a fan of the Grateful Dead, eventually making the trek to the Dead’s ‘birthplace,’ San Francisco.  At first, she busked on street corners to earn money, belting out everything from opera to blues. She enrolled at UC Berkeley, but her real education was learning to sing jazz standards at jam sessions. It wasn’t long before her voice caught the attention of SF Jazz Festival director Randall Kline and jazz critic Phil Elwood. Her reputation as a top-notch singer increased with ventures into jump-blues, big bands, and small jazz groups. Appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Umbria (in Europe), and the Tokyo Jazz Festival vaulted her on to the international festival circuit. She also has an avid following in Europe, where she lived and performed in the early 2000s.

In 2003, Nalley left Europe, returning to San Francisco to take the helm at Pearl’s Jazz Club, for five years. She also returned to the theater, performing at Teatro Zinzanni as Madame Zinzanni; playing Spunk in Blues Speak Woman, and portraying Billie Holiday in Lady Day In Love. Her concerts took on historical themes as tributes to her favorite vocalists: She Put A Spell On Me: A Tribute to Nina Simone; Ella: The American Dream, for Ella Fitzgerald; and Lady Sings the Blues, for Billie Holiday. Over her career, Nalley has collaborated with a long list of top jazz artists, including David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Roy Hargrove, and James Williams. The San Jose Mercury declared her singing, “… as rhythmically fluid and melodically inventive as a bebop saxophonist, though she can also deliver a ravishing ballad with a finely honed sense of drama.”

Kim Nalley with the Marcus Shelby Orchestra


DATE: Monday, January 13, 2014
PLACE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $25/Adv $30/Door, No Comps
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at:
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Sandy Sloan

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