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Rita Reys

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Rita Reys (full name: Maria Everdina Reys, born Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 21 December 1924 - died Breukelen, The Netherlands, 28 July 2013) was a Dutch jazz vocalist who, at the 1960 French jazz festival of Juan-Les-Pins, received the title “Europe’s First Lady of Jazz”.

Her first husband, jazz drummer Wessel Icken, introduced her into the jazz scene around 1943. She recorded dozens of albums: with her own sextet, with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers (in 1956) and - more than with anybody else - with her second husband, jazz pianist Pim Jacobs, whom she married after Icken’s untimely death and with whom she made her greatest recordings.

Rita Reys performed with the greatest musicians in jazz: from Donald Byrd to Art Blakey, from Jimmy Smith to Hank Mobley, from Horace Silver to Lester Young.

Among the countless awards she won was a prestigious Bird Award for her achievements in jazz. She was also an Honorary Citizen of the city of New Orleans.

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