Kelly Roberti is a world-acclaimed musician, composer and educator from Bozeman, Montana. His musical roots reach back fifty years to a childhood steeped in all genres by a family of music teachers and performers. Having played his first gig at the age of 11, his experiences have led to “street smart” technical skills on the bass and have translated into original compositions, performances, and workshop/clinics with the legendary musical giants of our times. Roberti’s style is a powerful blend of musical passion layered with exquisite tone by transcendent touch.
Utilizing innovative techniques which break down traditional barriers yet respect their values and influences, Roberti currently teaches improvisational thought to private students on every instrument as well as technical studies. His compositional style incorporates a wide array of influences and he is an inventive arranger of popular fare. His music reflects everything from Tin Pan Alley to ethnic world music with an awareness of the underlying harmonic and rhythmic structures affecting the listener on multiple levels. Kelly also writes lyrics for many of his compositions and he is a published poet.
Roberti’s prodigious and virtuosic bass performance has been heralded as both tenacious and groundbreaking.
He performs in group settings and solo outings. Listeners applaud his playing as:
“an original and soulful improviser with chops
almost unheard of until now.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“..earthy and meticulous bassist whose lines underpin the ensemble with roots and flair..
an heir apparent to the late Charles Mingus.”
“ True music is an indefinable communication. It is physics, philosophy, history, mathematics and to me a big dose of romance. Of course it is always about the illusive heart, and can only be what you’ve lived or dreamed, the pulse of our nature. I want to give to it what I have been given. I want to contribute to the tradition, the true human condition and to the next generation. ”
A Critical and popular response indicates that Roberti is achieving this mission, both for himself and for his audiences. Kelly Roberti has a list of over 150 tours with musical giants and legends in jazz, rock, and world music to his credit such as Arnett Cobb, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Tommy Flanagan, David Murray and dozens more. Kelly also sports an impressive array of teaching credentials at many major educational institutes. He has contributed to sixty-one recordings and is preparing another two now. Kelly has performed at nearly every major venue, both clubs and festivals, on five continents.
Today, Roberti leads the charge in providing great moments of performance and illumination of jazz for his hometown of Bozeman and throughout the state of Montana. For over a decade Kelly has welcomed local, regional and national artists to the stage of Plonk! and for nearly the same time span he has also hosted Jazz & More, a unique program designed to showcase the performing arts of Montana, sponsored by the Bozeman Public Library. Whether creating outlets for emerging and established artists, lecturing, teaching or conducting workshops, Roberti’s advocacy of jazz music and history is unrelenting.
Kelly Roberti received the 2010 Governors Arts Award on January 22nd at the State Capital in Helena, MT for his lifetime involvement in playing, composing, teaching and his advocacy of jazz music and the arts.
He hosted “Jazz & More…with Kelly Roberti” at the Bozeman Public Library which features interviews and performances with a rotating collection of artists around Montana for 8 years and was honored on Saturday, April 18, with the Bozeman Public Library Foundation’s Cornerstone Award.
He passed on March 7th, 2016 in Bozeman from lung cancer.