If you have heard her voice, you can’t forget her.(Quote: George Avakian)
Lady Jazz, as she was labeled in the title of her biography, which she published a few years ago in cooperation with jazz journalist Bert Vuijsje - Europe’s First Lady of Jazz for more than 50 years, a title she received in 1960 at the International Jazz festival of Juan-les Pins, won't sing anymore. She passed away the 28th of July 2013. Eighty-eight years young she was still active as a jazz singer
Rita Reys at the North Sea Jazz Festival (Rotterdam) July 2012 (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
Last year I joined a concert by her trio, featuring Peter Beets at the piano, Ruud Jacobs at the double bass and Joost Patocka on drums at the North Sea Jazz Festival ….
A few weeks ago she gave one of her last concerts at a full-packed North Sea Jazz Club in Amsterdam and on the first of September she would have performed at the Amsterdam Bim-huis ……….
Born in December 1924 in Rotterdam, she started her career as a singer in the Hawaiian Minstreels, sung during the war with guitarist Lex Van Spall and performed after the war with Ted Powder and Piet Van Dijk ……. She married drummer Wessel Ilcken who introduced her to jazz. With his sextet she toured Europe and visited the US twice where she performed with Art Blakey
and Dutch born accordion player Mat Mathews, Chico Hamilton and Jimmy Smith .…
Enjoy a historical concert featuring the Pim Jacobs Trio and Johnny Griffin' ( 1979)
She toured with the Kurt Edelhagen band and Bengt Hallberg and, after her marriage with Pim Jacobs (Wessel
Ilcken passed away due to a CVA in 1957), she was honored with the title European's First Lady of Jazz. From the 1960s onwards last month she performed as a soloist at hundreds of concerts on stages, radio and tv-programs with her partner pianist player Pim Jacobs and, after his death in 1996, with Peter Beets, Ruud Jacobs ( her brother-in-law and accompanist since the 1950s) and Joost Patocka in her most recent trio.
She belongs to the six best jazz-vocalists of the world …… ( Zij behoort tot de zes beste jazz-vokalistes (sic) ter wereld), George Avakian, the former Columbia record producer who gave Rita a contract, says in a Dutch article, simply entitled Rita …. (Rhythme, Maandblad voor Jazz-, Dans- en Amusementsmuziek, January 1958). If you have heard her voice, you can’t forget
her. (= Wie haar eenmaal heeft gehoord, kan haar niet meer vergeten).
Rita Reys has been, together with the Dutch Swing College Band, Hollands Ambassador of Jazz for more than 70 years ……..
Rita Reys ( 1924-2013) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
Rita Reys live at the Dutch TV-program de Wereld Draait Door (2010)
Her timing was legendary – her voice unforgetable ….
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Rita Reys, Dutch Lady Jazz - European's First Lady of Jazz passed away, 88 years young ..... Her timing was legendary – her voice unforgetable ….
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