Bridging genres from hard bop to free, award-winning saxophonist and composer Kelly Bucheger has performed in the U.S. and Europe with luminaries across the jazz spectrum, from James Carter and John Zorn to Don Menza, Bill Watrous, Terry Gibbs, Bobby Shew, and Louie Bellson.
His writings on jazz have reached a worldwide audience; his article “James Carter Ruined My Life” was translated and published in French and Dutch, and featured on vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater’s NPR program JazzSet. Kelly’s blog “Harder Bop” was cited on NPR’s “A Blog Supreme.”
As a composer, he’s been honored by the West Bank School of Music (Minneapolis) Jazz Composers Competition, and the Julius Hemphill Composition Awards, sponsored by the Jazz Composers Alliance in Boston.
He’s performed premiers of numerous works, including Fredric Rzewski’s “Satyrica” (for jazz ensemble), Stephen Chatman’s “Screams & Whimpers” (for saxophone quartet), and a piece written for him by Bruce Bethke, “Two Neo-Bops for Kelly” (for saxophone and tape), with a performance sponsored by the Minnesota Composers Forum.
Kelly has performed at a number of European jazz festivals, including the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree in Poland, the Gehrden Jazztäge in Germany, and most recently at the Altitude Jazz Festival in Briançon, France, and Torino, Italy.
The Buffalo News described Kelly’s new CD, House of Relics, as “present-day jazz of the highest order,” and Buffalo Spree magazine called it “the best local release of the year.” Kelly’s group “What Would Mingus Do?” was named “Best Local Music Act of 2013” by Buffalo Spree.
In 2014, Artvoice included “What Would Mingus Do?” in its list of “10 Local Music Acts You Must Hear.”