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Wynton Kelly
Birth name Wynton Kelly
Born December 2, 1931(1931-12-02)
Origin Jamaica
Died April 12, 1971 (aged 39)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Jazz
Occupations Musician
Instruments Piano
Labels Blue Note, Verve, Xanadu, Vee-Jay, Milestone, Riverside
Associated acts Miles Davis
Cecil Payne
Dinah Washington
Dizzy Gillespie

Wynton Kelly (December 2, 1931 in Jamaica — April 12, 1971, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) was a jazz pianist who spent his career in the United States.[1] He is perhaps best known for working with trumpeter Miles Davis in the '50s.[1]



Kelly started his professional career as a teenager, initially as a member of R&B groups. After working with Lee Abrams, Cecil Payne, Dinah Washington and Dizzy Gillespie[2], he was a member of Miles Davis's Quintet from 1959 to 1963. He appears on Davis's seminal 1959 album Kind of Blue, replacing Bill Evans on the track "Freddie Freeloader" (with Davis asking Kelly to sound more like Ahmad Jamal). He likewise appears on a single track from John Coltrane's Giant Steps, replacing Tommy Flanagan on "Naima". [1]

A superb accompanist, Wynton Kelly was also a distinctive soloist. He recorded 14 titles for Blue Note in a trio (1951), and worked with Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lester Young during 1951-1952. After serving in the military, he worked with Dinah Washington (1955-1957), Charles Mingus (1956-1957), and the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1957), but he would be most famous for his stint with Miles Davis (1959-1963), recording such albums with Miles as Kind of Blue, At the Blackhawk, and Someday My Prince Will Come. When he left Davis, Kelly took the rest of the rhythm section (bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb) with him to form his trio.

Before his early death of an epileptic seizure, Kelly recorded as a leader for Blue Note, Riverside Records, Vee-Jay, Verve, and Milestone.[3] Kelly had a daughter, Tracy, in 1963, with partner Anne. The track, "Little Tracy", from the LP Coming In the Back Door, is named after Kelly's daughter. Tracy Matisak is a now a Philadelphia television personality.

Kelly's second cousin, bassist Marcus Miller, also performed with Miles Davis in the eighties and nineties.[1]



As leader

As sideman

With Julian "Cannonball" Adderley

With Nat Adderley

With Lorez Alexandria

  • Alexandria the Great (1964)
  • More of the Great (1964)

With Gene Ammons

  • Night Lights (1970)

With Walter Benton

  • Out of This World (1960)

With Bob Brookmeyer

  • Jazz is a Kick (1960)

With Joy Bryan

  • Make the Man Love Me (1961)

With Donald Byrd

  • Off to the Races (1958)

With Betty Carter

With Paul Chambers

  • Go... (1959)
  • 1st Bassman (1960)

With James Clay

  • The Sound of the Wide Open Spaces!!! (1960)

With Jimmy Cleveland

  • Cleveland Style (1957)

With John Coltrane

With King Curtis

  • The New Scene of King Curtis (1960)
  • Soul Meeting (1960)

With Miles Davis

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Benny Golson

  • Benny Golson's New York Scene (1957)
  • The Modern Touch (1957)
  • Turning Point (1962)

With Paul Gonsalves

With Dexter Gordon

  • The Jumpin' Blues (1970)

With Grant Green

  • First Session (1960)

With Johnny Griffin

With Eddie Harris

  • Cool Sax, Warm Heart (1964)

With Jimmy Heath

  • On the Trail (1964)

With Bill Henderson

  • Bill Henderson Sings (1959)

With Joe Henderson

With Ernie Henry

  • Seven Standards and a Blues (1957)
  • Last Chorus (1957)

With Helen Humes

  • Swingin' with Humes (1961)

With Illinois Jacquet

  • The Blues That's Me (1969)

With Eddie Jefferson

  • Letter From Home (1962)

With Elvin Jones & Philly Joe Jones

  • Together! (1961)

With Sam Jones

  • The Chant (1961)

With Roland Kirk

With Steve Lacy

With Abbey Lincoln

  • That's Him (1957)
  • It's Magic (1958)

With Chuck Magione

  • Recuerdo (1962)

With Blue Mitchell

  • Blue Mitchell Big 6 (1958)
  • Blue Soul (1959)
  • Blue's Moods (1960)
  • A Sure Thing (1962)

With Hank Mobley

With Wes Montgomery

With Lee Morgan

With Mark Murphy

  • Rah (1961)

With David Newman

  • Staight Ahead (1960)

With Art Pepper

  • Gettin' Together (1960)

With Sonny Red

  • Out of the Blue (1959)

With Dizzy Reece

  • Star Bright (1959)

With Wayne Shorter

With Sonny Rollins

With Don Sleet

  • All Members (1961)

With Frank Strozier

  • Fantastic Frank Strozier (1959)

With Art Taylor

  • A.T.'s Delight (1960)

With Teri Thornton

  • Devil May Care (1960)

With Phil Upchurch

  • Feeling Blue (1967)

With Dinah Washington

  • Back to the Blues (1962)



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