Upper airway MRI can provide a noninvasive assessment of speech and swallowing disorders and sleep apnea. Recent work has demonstrated the value of high-resolution three-dimensional imaging and dynamic two-dimensional imaging and the importance of further improvements in spatio-temporal resolution. The purpose of the study was to describe a novel 16-channel 3 Tesla receive coil that is highly sensitive to the human upper airway and investigate the performance of accelerated upper airway MRI with the coil. In three-dimensional imaging of the upper airway during static posture, 6-fold acceleration is demonstrated using parallel imaging, potentially leading to capturing a whole three-dimensional vocal tract with 1.25 mm isotropic resolution within 9 sec of sustained sound production. Midsagittal spiral parallel imaging of vocal tract dynamics during natural speech production is demonstrated with 2 × 2 mm2 in-plane spatial and 84 ms temporal resolution. Magn Reson Med, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.