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.”

LA Reader

“ 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.



A few musicians Kelly has worked, toured, recorded or appeared with throughout the years.

Saxophones / Reeds

Arnett Cobb   Eddie Harris   James Moody   Sonny Rollins 

David Murray   Hank Crawford   David “Fathead” Newman

Sonny Fortune    Steve Lacy   Jan Garbarek   Steve Potts   

Jim Pepper    Paul McCandless   Richie Cole   Red Holloway   

Carter Jefferson   Kim Richmond   Ken Peplowski   Alan Fauque   

Chuck Florence   Jake Fleming  

Trumpet / Trombone

Freddie Hubbard   Woody Shaw    Wynton Marsalis   Hugh Ragin

Nat Adderley   Jack Walrath   Rasul Sidik   Clay Jenkins  David Scott

Gordon Vernick   Rebecca Coup Franks   Ray Anderson   Steve Turre

Craig Harris   Bill Watrous    Ralph Sappington   M.J. Williams

Drums / Percussion

Alan Dawson    Herlin Riley   Sunny Murray    Dennis Chambers   

Andrew Cyrille   Ronnie Burrage    Tani Tabal   Claude Ranger  

Pheeroan Aklaff    John Betsch   Jim Honaker    Airto    Keith Terry   

Bobby Battle    Brad Edwards    Alex Platt    Michael Blessing   Mike Gillan

Vibes / Marimba

Bobby Hutcherson   David Samuels   Jay Hoggard   Fred Raulston


Herb Ellis   Barney Kessel   Emily Remler   Joe Beck   Vernon Reid

Steve Cardenas   Spencer Barefield   Ben White   Craig Hall

Joshua Breakstone   Sheryl Bailey


Tommy Flanagan    John Hicks    Jaki Byard    Mose Allison   

Kenny Werner    D.D. Jackson    Henry Butler    Mal Waldron   

Hilton Ruiz    Dave Burrell    Derek Smith    Tee Carson   

Claire Fischer    David Benoit    Ellyn Rucker   Peggy Stern   

Lafayette Gilchrist    Bob Nell   Ann Tappan   Adam Platt   

Bob Britten   Eric Funk    Dave Grusin


Michelle Hendricks   Judy Niemack   Jeanne Lee    Roseanna Vitro   

Kellye Gray    Giacomo Gates    Kevin Mahogany    Julie Kelly   

M.J. Williams    Dionne Warwick   Carola Vossen    Jeni Fleming

Theo Peoples   Eden Atwood


Ray Brown    Fred Hopkins    Michael Bisio   

Anthony Cox   Bob Bowman


Billy Bang


Jimmy Slyde   Sarah Petronio   Leela Petronio   Katherine Kramer  

Acia Gray   Joanne Barrett   Kamaria Dailey   Carson Murphy

Heather Barinaga