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Rita Reys Dies

Rita Reys, Dutch most acclaimed jazz vocalist, has deceased. She reached the age of  88 years. Reys died in the night from Saturday to Sunday in Breukelen. This was announced by her manager.

The singer was more than 70 years active as a professional singer on stage. Saturday July 6 was Reys, after four months of absence due to a hip surgery, still on stage in a sold-out North Sea Jazz Club in Amsterdam. The evening ended, according to the website of Reys with a minute long standing ovation.

Reys would be the first jazz singer ever to give a concert in pop templeParadiso on September 1. One week later she would be on stage in her hometown Rotterdam of theater Lantaren Venster.

Europe’s First Lady of Jazz

Rita Reys carried the title ‘Europe’s First Lady of Jazz’ since 1960, assigned to her by the international jazz festival of Juan Les Pins in France. Four decades she performed with her beloved husband Pim Jacobs at her side, who died in 1996. In recent years, she performed with pianist Peter Beets and her brother-in-law Ruud Jacobs on bass.

She made dozens of albums during her long career. She also won many awards, including five Edison (and a special Edison for al her work), the American Songbook Award, three gold records and the prestigious international Bird Award.

Her name was internationally established when she recorded the album The Cool Voice Of Rita Reys in New York in 1956, with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. She played with the greats such as Lester Young, Art Blakey, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie.

Reactions

Henk Westbroek says on Twitter: ‘Rita Reys was a magnificent singer, a sweet woman and I am very proud that she visited twice the same show of me. ”

Jon van Eerd twitters: “Europe’s First Lady of Jazz, phenomenon in the Dutch music, is no more: Rita Reys. Sang until the last moment. Rest in peace. ”

Wilbert Mutsaers, station manager at 3FM and Radio 6 Soul & Jazz, wrote on Twitter that “an institution of Dutch jazz is gone.”

Also jazz pianist Louis van Dijk was shocked. “It is primarily a shock because I thought she had eternal life,” he said Sunday in a reaction.

Van Dijk has made three records with her and performed dozens of times with her. “She was an extraordinary, very present type. She went completely for what she wanted, and that was singing jazz.”