George Kelly was the only musician to be a regular member of both Al Cooper's Savoy Sultans of the 1940s and Panama Francis' Savoy Sultans of 40 years later. Kelly began on the piano when he was nine before switching to alto and finally tenor. He played locally in Florida and Panama Francis was an early sideman in his band the Cavaliers; Kelly also gigged with Zack Whyte in 1938. After moving to New York, the tenorman was with the Sultans during 1941-1944. Other associations included Rex Stewart (1946), bassist Lucille Dixon (1948-1950), and Tiny Grimes' Highlanders. Kelly mostly worked with lesser-known groups in the '50s and '60s (other than Cozy Cole in 1965), toured Europe with Jay McShann and Tiny Grimes in 1970, and during 1970-1976 he was part of the Ink Spots' backup band. During his last decade he had a higher profile, visiting Europe with Ram Ramirez (1976) and being part of both the new Savoy Sultans and the Harlem Jazz & Blues Band. Kelly had a strong tenor tone that looked back towards the swing era while he was clearly aware of later developments. In addition to many sideman appearances during the 1976-1984 period, George Kelly recorded as a leader for Dharma (1976), Black & Blue (1979), Barron (1982), Vanacore (1982), Sam Hot (1984), and Stash (a tribute to Don Redman in 1984). ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi