Rebecca Parris

December 28, 1951 – June 17, 2018

The world lost an incredible musical talent when Rebecca passed away on June 17, 2018 at age 66 after a long battle with health issues.


Rebecca Parris performed jazz for nearly three decades, having produced over ten CDs. Admired by vocal icons Shirley Horn and Sarah Vaughan, Rebecca was known for her ability to convey a song’s underlying emotion through masterful phrasing and the infusion of feeling. She had an inherent sense of swing and musical structure, lending authenticity to her improvisations.

Tributes from the Media

Remembering Rebecca


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 was teaching, both in a private, one-on-one and workshop setting. Her lessons and workshops focused on technique, performance and the “business” side of music, as well as lyric delivery, scat, and improvisation.


Rebecca’s most recent album release was “You Don’t Know Me” on the Saying It With Jazz label where she performed 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.


Prior releases included 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.”