By Bernard Perusse  Fri, Jul 2 2010
 
All due respect to Nikki Yanofsky and everything, but she's not the only child prodigy heading for the stratosphere at this festival.

Rising jazz star and Downbeat darling Grace Kelly, 18, is only a couple of years older than Montreal's sweetheart. The Korean-American sax player released her first album when she was 12. And judging from her stunning second. set on the CBC stage last night, there's probably no stopping her.

What stood out were the wisely-planned dynamics heard in the all-too-brief hour Kelly (nee Grace Chung) spent with seemingly delighted onlookers. Kicking off conservatively with the solid bop of Happy Theme Song, she was soon leading her gifted and versatile band --- Jason Palmer on trumpet, pianist Doug Johnson, bassist Evan Gregor and drummer Jordan Perlson ---into Filosophical Flying Fish, with its loose, syncopated New Orleans-styled foundation. A new, unrecorded composition, Where Did You Go, followed, showing a bossa nova lilt that evoked Stan Getz, an early idol of Kelly's.

By the time the quintet concluded with the tour de force Searching For Peace --- a scorcher with a precise, industrial motif shadowed by a rock-like backbeat --- some wonderful hell was breaking loose on stage.

And yet Kelly might not see herself as an envelope-pusher. At one point, before leading the band into the vertiginous, thrilling 101, she explained that she had initially planned on calling it Parenting 101, From a Child's Point of View, but decided to simplify. "I'm not a rebel. I'm a good kid," she added.

The smart money says we'll never see this kid on such a small stage again. But it was a treat to be there when it did happen.

--- Bernard Perusse ---