I first heard Rebecca in 1982, the year before I started Highland Jazz. At that time a jazz series called “Jazz at Noon” took place every Friday at Jasons, a popular restaurant in the Back Bay. The series usually featured a guest artist to start the afternoon and then morphed into an open jam session. One afternoon a very tall (six foot) blond woman took the mike and I was amazed at what I heard. She had a powerful and truly beautiful voice. She often included her rendition of “Over the Rainbow” in these sessions and her version was frankly stunning.
I later found out that she had grown up in Newton and had attended Newton High School. It didn’t take long for me to decide to present her in a “coming home” concert- the first gig in which she would be the featured performer. She agreed and we set the date for March. She was scheduled to have back surgery before the concert but told me not to worry. Everything would be fine.
In fact, she had a difficult recovery and showed up at the concert, strapped into a tight fitting back support. In spite of everything, she sounded fantastic and the concert garnered her a lot of good press and exposure-exactly what I had hoped would happen.
During intermission she was awarded the keys to the city by two aldermen, George Mansfield and Rodney Barker. The MC that evening was Tony Cennamo from WBUR.FM.
And what about the piano? This time I rented a white grand piano for her pianist Frank Wilkins – well worth the money and the effort.
Where are they now?
Becky has had an exciting and successful career which is described in her official website. (rebeccaparris.com)
(rebeccaparris.com)since that first concert she has been a frequent performer for Highland Jazz. Although I wasn’t able to find a video of her singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” this video of her from the Apollo Theatre shows what a talented and special musician she is. (Kleman).