About The Author
Wendell has played on over 1000 recordings from film, TV, to CDs. He has been on over 40 tours in over 20 countries and has performed multiple Broadway Shows and thousands of live performances. He served on the Board of Directors of Local 47 in Los Angeles gaining experience in the inter-workings of the Musician’s Union and the Music Business. With over 30 years of experience as a composer, arranger, conductor, contractor, educator and clinician, he endorses a formal education, the experiences of being out in the “real world” and includes them in such a needed book in the industry.
Wendell Kelly was born in Orange California. His family always had music playing in the house with a vast family album collection. He was raised listening to music from Classical, Big Band to Motown and Rock & Roll. He was exposed to styles of other eras. This laid the foundation. He had no idea this would be an advantage as a professional musician.
He started his interest in music when his brothers formed their own garage bands. Wendell sat around listening and occasionally playing the drums, bass and guitar. He got his biggest influence at Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church weekly. While living in Santa Ana he attended Benjamin Franklin and Santiago Elementary Schools where he developed his skills studying guitar and vocals with Mrs. Sabine and piano under Vivian Gordon, Mr. Russell, and Mr. Arthur Buford.
He later attended Spurgeon Intermediate School. While attending Spurgeon he kept studying piano and guitar with Gail Lehman. Wendell played different community and church functions throughout his attendance at Spurgeon, including as a special guest at the 8th grade graduation, playing guitar and singing "Do You Know Where You're Going To" as a send off to his classmates.
In 1976 his family moved to Anaheim where he attended El Rancho Jr. H.S. At El Rancho he found out that there were no groups that supported his guitar playing. There was only a Marching Band and a Concert Band. He was determined to keep playing music so he joined the Concert Band playing the bassoon. Concert season was fine for his bassoon playing in which he reached the goal of playing in the Orange County District Honor Concert Band, but when marching season rolled around he could not play bassoon. He later asked the teacher about playing a brass instrument. The only horn left was the baritone horn. So away he went playing the baritone horn in Marching Band.
There was still a void in his musical tastes. He wanted to start a Jazz Band at the Junior High. He asked the director if this was possible and he said, “Sure let's start one.” Canyon High School had a Jazz Band, he asked if they could come to the school and play for them. That's all it took to get him inspired. The only problem was he played baritone horn, and that was the wrong instrument to play in a Jazz Band. A friend of the director who was a trombone player came to El Rancho for a visit. He saw that Wendell was playing a baritone horn and said "What are you doing playing that instrument in a jazz band?" Mr. Randy Coleman went into the instrument closet and pulled out a trombone. From that day on he played trombone in the jazz band. He never gave up the baritone horn because the parts were better in Concert Band and Marching Band.
A classmate (Steve Sala) one day was telling Wendell about a group of musicians that were the better players from many schools all around Southern California. That band was called the Santa Ana Winds under the direction of Robert L. Ward. After joining in 1978 this became quite an eye and ear opening experience to be in with players from Jr. High to College. Wendell first traveled to Europe in 1979 to England, Scotland, Belgium, Holland and Germany. This gave him a wide variety of experience. Wendell became the brass section leader at 16 years old and remained in the Winds until 1982.
In 1981 after graduating from Canyon High School Anaheim he began his formal musical education attending Fullerton College, CSU Long Beach & University Of Southern California.
• 1981 Started his Professional career playing in clubs, churches and local bands and orchestras.
• 1982 Began Studying with Trombone Legend and Master Roy Main.
• 1984 Chosen to play in the California State Junior College All-Star Jazz Band.
• 1985 Graduated Fullerton College. Earning an AA and also received certification in Studio Engineering under Alex Cima.
• 1985 began teaching privately, instructing school brass sections and conducting clinics.
• 1985 began attending California State University at Long Beach.
• 1986 Joined the American Federation of Musicians.
• 1990 Attended University Of Southern California.
Wendell has played with such notables as:
Justin Timberlake - The Temptations - The O’Jays - Stevie Wonder - Whitney Houston - En Vogue - New Edition - Beyonce - Gym Class Heroes - The Count Basie Orchestra - Lee Ritenour - Lionel Richie - Patti LaBelle - Lou Rawls - Joe Williams - Earth, Wind & Fire - Quincy Jones - Natalie Cole - Snoop Dogg - Toni Tennille - The Manhattan Transfer - Jennifer Hudson - Frank Sinatra - Horace Tapscott - Barbara Morrison - Howie Mandel - Leslie Uggams - Eddie Daniels - David Foster - James Ingram - Ernie Andrews - Patti Austin - Paula Abdul - Clare Fischer - Louis Bellson - Connie Francis - Luis Miguel - Englebert Humperdinck - Dan Ackroyd - Bobby Shew - Johnny Hammond Smith - Steve Allen - Merv Griffin - Rosemary Clooney - Cybil Shepard - Carmen Bradford - Tom Scott - Frankie Valli - Lorna Luft - Lalo Schifrin - Pat Boone - John Faddis - Michael Crawford - Nancy Sinatra - Toni Braxton - Lisa Loeb - Dan Castellaneta - John Lithgow - Femi Kuti - Jeff Goldblum - Fiona Apple - Mary Wilson - Diahann Carrol - Marty Stewart - Neil Sedaka - The Rippingtons - Hal Linden - Little Richard - Ray Charles - Jack Sheldon - Liz Torres - The Four Tops - Jerry Lewis - Maureen McGovern - Billy Crystal - TC Carson - Clint Black - Diana Ross - Jackie Chan - Chris Tucker - Juan Gabriel - Eric Benet - Luther Vandross - Paul Anka - Edgar Winter - Bobby Womack - Steve Wariner - Loretta Divine - Sheila E. - David Foster - Jennifer Holiday - Wayne Newton - Yolanda Adams - Steve Lawrence - Eydie Gorme - Shirley MacLaine - Cleo Laine - Tony Danza - Herbie Hancock - Harry Sweets Edison - Hootie & The Blowfish - Jack Jones - K.d Lange - Rebbie Jackson - Ruth Brown - Sue Raney - Styxx Hooper - Al McKay - Erykah Badu - Common - The Gap Band - Chris Calloway - Lil’ Kim - New Edition - Angela Via - Puff Daddy - Savion Glover - Celine Dion - Yanni - Gerald LeVert - Steve Allen - Tom Scott - Ken Peplowski - Ruth Sahanaya - Aretha Franklin - Anita Baker - Carl Anderson - David Benoit - Randy Jackson - Sam Moore - Triumph The Insult Comic Dog - Travis Tritt - Jodi Watley - O.C. Smith - Gladys Knight - Steve March Torme´- Philip Bailey - Carmen Lundy - Kathleen McPhee - Joss Stone - Ledisi - Janice Siegel - George Clinton - Josh Groban - Ziggy Marley - Freda Payne - Herb Jeffries - Jane Zhang - Andrea Bocelli
"Know where to get information without having to retain it all. That is the key."
For more credits see Wendell’s website. www.wendellkelly.com/