KELLEY O'NEAL - Often called the “Gerald Allbright of the alto sax,” Kelley has played the saxophone for over twenty years and has toured and/or recorded with such artists as Be Be and Ce Ce Winans, Take Six, The Ojays and Brian McKnight, to name a few. He has appeared on The Tonight Show, The Arsenio Hall Show and The Essence Awards Show and also performed at the inauguration gala of President Bill Clinton. Now Kelley is ready to take a lead role with his solo release entitled “JUST IN TIME”. In the late 1970s, Kelly played lead alto in the University of Alabama “Jazz Ensemble B” under Ray Reach's direction.


There is always the beginning and the end, but for a select few there is a point in between where the artist boldly makes a clear individual statement and everyone stops to listen. That time is now for saxophonist KelleyO'Neal, and the rumblings that were once distant will undoubtedly become a cascading roar as he takes his long awaited step to the forefront as an artist. His journey to this place in time began when he first picked up the saxophone at age nine in Huntsville,AL. “I always had a love for music even as a child,”Kelley says. “I was influenced early on by the music of Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke and the Jackson 5. During that time,my brother played the saxophone and I began to experiment with it ... initially, just because it was there in the house. Later, I just really began to feel comfortable with the sound of it. Progress on the instrument was swift as the combination of his natural musical ability and increasing performance opportunities honed his skills. At Lee High School in Huntsville, Kelley joined the band and for three consecutive years was 1st chair saxophonist and named to the All State Band. During the course of his high school band experience, Kelley went on to earn a staggering total of 50 solo and ensemble performance awards including the highly coveted John Phillip Sousa Award. For his efforts he was rewarded with a scholarship to the University of Alabama where he broadened his scope even further by playing in the symphonic orchestra and lead alto in the Jazz ensemble. He was even a part of the university’s nationally recognized “Million Dollar”marching band. But even with all these outlets for playing, there was still a persistent pull in yet another direction ... “In high school, Earth Wind & Fire made a huge impact on me.” Kelley remembers. “Then I gradually became interested in other artists who played saxophone and those artists greatly influenced my playing and the direction in which I wanted to take my music. Once I began to listen to Grover Washington, Ronnie Laws and David Sanborn, I knew exactly where I wanted to go.” Kelley began to play with a series of local groups in Birmingham in 1987, most notably a musically diverse unit called Top Secret,which satisfied both his need to play jazz and his love of R&B and popular music. The band would be his home base as he then began to venture out into the national and international touring circuit performing with a host of major label artists around the globe. The first major tour was with BeBe & CeCe Winans where not only did he play saxophone, but also doubled ..boards. The tour took him around the world and back again as he also added the Winans Brothers and the Winans Family to a growing itinerary that kept him on the road almost constantly for nearly two years. During this stint Kelley made television appearances on The Arsenio Hall Show,The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Gladys Knight Special and the Essence Awards Show. Shortly after, he performed on the multi platinum debut recording for Brian McKnight and also added to his growing list of touring duties, roadwork for the Temptations, Take 6, The Four Tops, Mikki Howard and Eric Essix. He even performed at the gala inauguration of President Bill Clinton. As his resume grows exponentially with the passing of time, Kelley has reached a point in his personal musical journey where his unique voice must be heard; and so he ventures into the role of leader with his latest solo recording effort ... Just In Time. With consummate style, superb musicianship and virtuosic flair, Kelley O’Neal emerges fully equipped to secure his place in the minds and hearts of music lovers everywhere. Kelley continues to play with his Top Secret band mates, as well as with his own ensemble, The Kelley O’Neal Band. The band is available for small and large events, music festivals, and more. Book The Kelly O’Neal Band for your next special event!

Source: KAYOBAND | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos

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Kelley O'Neal is an American saxophonist and studio musician, and former member of two Grammy Award winning musical groups. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, he now resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to the journal of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, Kelley earned a remarkable total of 50 solo and ensemble performance awards during his high school years, including the highly coveted John Phillip Sousa Award. He attended the University of Alabama on music scholarship, where he participated in the noted jazz program under Steve Sample, Sr and Ray Reach.

Kelley has toured with notable performers such as the Four Tops, the Temptations and Be Be and Ce Ce Winans. In addition, he is a member of the nationally known horn section, the Tuscaloosa Horns. Kelley worked with the multiple Grammy award winning jazz vocal group, Take 6, touring Japan with them. He has also been a member of the band led by Grammy award-winning Rhythm and Blues artist Brian McKnight, appearing on McKnight's multi-platinum debut album. In 1992, Kelley donated his services on a recording titled "Mr President," produced by Ray Reach to benefit the homeless in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

Kelley is a regular featured performer at the W. C. Handy Music Festival, appearing there each year, both as a part of the band led by guitarist Eric Essix, and fronting his own group, the Kelley O'Neal Band. He is a member of the W. C. Handy Jazz All-Stars, and is renowned among his peers as one of the finest contemporary jazz saxophonists in the United States.

Source: Kelley O'Neal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


More info: Tuscaloosa Horns - Kelley O'Neal Bio

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