Rebecca Parris has performed jazz for nearly three decades, having produced over ten CDs. Admired by vocal icons Shirley Horn and Sarah Vaughan, Rebecca is known for her ability to convey a song’s underlying emotion through masterful phrasing and the infusion of feeling. She has an inherent sense of swing and musical structure, lending authenticity to her improvisations.
You cannot listen to Parris for more than a few moments without being startled by her talent – startled by the range and subtlety and power of her voice.
“I hear a little Carmen McRae when I listen to Rebecca,” says Ron DellaChiesa, the jazz disk jockey at WGBH in Boston. “And a little Sarah Vaughan. I think she’s on that level. Her phrasing is what is most extraordinary. She never sings a song the same way twice in a row.”
The fact is, Parris is a practitioner – a guardian, one might say – of an art form that is becoming scarce; an artist preserving a great American tradition more for its own sake than for her own glory or profit. [Amazon.com 2015 Editorial Review]
Born to a family of musicians and educators in Newton, Massachusetts, in December, 1951, Rebecca Parris has been performing her entire life. Her parents encouraged her to pursue the study of music at an early age, her roots sprouting in musical theater at 6 years old. As her passion for music developed, Parris was fortunate to study with her uncle, and world-renown vocal coach, Blair McClosky of McClosky Institute of Voice. Parris pursued formal music education at Boston Conservatory.
Parris began her professional career in music working with various top 40’s bands in the Northeast before finding her true musical passion in the Jazz world. Since then, Rebecca has performed all over the world with her own groups, as well as with some of Jazz’s greatest legends, including Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Terry Gibbs, David “Fathead” Newman, Norman Simmons. Harold Jones, Andy Simpkins, Gerry Wiggins, Bill Cunliffe, Red Mitchell, Buster Cooper, Nat Pierce, and many others.
Parris’ second passion is teaching, both in a private, one-on-one and workshop setting. Her lessons and workshops focus on technique, performance and the “business” side of music, as well as lyric delivery, scat, and improvisation.
Rebecca’s latest release is “You Don’t Know Me” on the Saying It With Jazz label. Rebecca performs some well-chosen standards with her long-time trio: Brad Hatfield, piano; Peter Kontrimas, bass; and Matt Gordy, drums, plus guest artists Jerry Bergonzi and Houston Person on tenor saxophone and Gary Burton on vibes.
Rebecca’s previous releases include her all-ballads CD, “My Foolish Heart,” “The Secret of Christmas”, “A Beautiful Friendship” with the Kenny Hadley Big Band, “Double Rainbow” with Eddie Higgins and Michael Monaghan, “A Passionate Fling”, “Love Comes and Goes”, and “Live at Chan’s.”
Rebecca continues to travel and bring her music to the world.