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About Rebecca Parris

Rebecca Parris was a swinging singer with a gruff voice and a no-nonsense approach that sometimes made her seem like the Etta James of jazz. The Boston-based vocalist sang in musicals with her father in summer stock when she was only six. She actually began her professional career performing rock for a decade, not fully dedicating herself to jazz until the early '80s. Parris attained a cult following and gradually become better known to the larger jazz public. She made her recording debut with several albums for the tiny Weston-Blair label during 1985-1988, and subsequently recorded for Altenburgh (with the Kenny Hadley Big Band), GRP (It's Another Day, a collaboration with her supporter Gary Burton), and Entertainment Exclusives. She made guest appearances with many top musicians (including Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Wynton Marsalis, and Dizzy Gillespie), performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and toured in a wide variety of settings. In the 21st century, her recordings included My Foolish Heart (Koch Jazz, 2001), The Secret of Christmas (Shira Records, 2002), and You Don't Know Me (Saying It with Jazz, 2007), the latter album featuring her trio of keyboardist Brad Hatfield, bassist Peter Kontrimas, and drummer Jim Lattini along with guest artists vibraphonist Burton and tenor saxophonists Jerry Bergonzi and Houston Person. In declining health since the mid-2000s, Parris nevertheless continued to impress audiences with live appearances for the rest of her life. After performing a pair of songs at a venue in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts on June 17, 2018, she collapsed and was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died at the age of 66. ~ Scott Yanow

HOMETOWN
Needham, MA
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
Dec 28, 1951

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