Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

Rita Reys

Rita Reys - since 1960 officially Europe's First Lady of Jazz- has been a professional performer for more than six decades. Even today, this jazz diva still knows how to charm audiences with her famously unique timing, legendary swing and fabulous performance.

HER EARLY YEARS Maria Everdina Reys was born on 21 December 1924 in Rotterdam, in an artistic family: her father was a violin player and conductor, her mother a dancer. At home, there was virtually no jazz music. Her parents preferred light classical music instead, so Rita grew up with the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Chopin. But the singing was already in her blood: As a teenager, Rita entered many local talent competitions and won them all.

Read more
“Hey Rita, where’s your accent?” - George Avakian, producer at Columbia Records (1956)

“I love what I heard on the record. So happy to hear you again” - Burt Bacharach (1971)

“From now on, everytime I will write a song, I will think of the great Rita Reys, who sings the love songs with such love, that I really love her, and you will too.” - Michel Legrand (1972)

“Rita Reys makes a glorious come back” - Rotterdams Dagblad (1998)

“Rita Reys: Brilliant timing” - Trouw (2004)

“With no doubt the greatest jazz singer our country has brought forth” - Jury Edison Oeuvre Award (2006)

9 Photos View in Slideshow