My Personal Top 10 Female Singers – No 6

by Dorothea

…in no particular order & with my favorite recording…

Number Six: Rita Reys

The Dutch jazz singer Rita Reys was very deservedly called: “Europe’s First Lady of Jazz”

RitaReysCover photo of the album “The Cool Voice of Rita Reys”

Rita Reys sang most of the famous jazz standards but my absolute favorite record is: “Rita Reys Sings Michel Legrand”. This was an artistic marriage made in heaven. Michel Legrand, the French composer, wrote one hit song after another, and his film scores are amongst the most notable in the world.

Most of his songs were written with French lyrics, but translated into English they became great standards like: “The Windmills of Your Mind” (click to listen) for the original “Thomas Crown Affair” with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. The remake of the film from 1999 uses the same song, in a cover by Sting (click to listen)!

ThomasCrown“The Thomas Crown Affair”, directed by Norman Jewison in 1968.

and “The Summer Knows” (click to listen) for the film “The Summer of ’42”:

Summer42The Summer of ’42, directed by Robert Mulligan in 1971

and of course “I Will Wait for You” (click to listen) from the classic French film “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” (I can attest you need an umbrella very frequently in Normandy!) with Catherine Deneuve:

parapluiesLes Parapluies de Cherbourg, directed by Jacques Demy in 1963

Not only does Rita sing all these classic Legrand songs, the orchestration is by the late composer and conductor Rogier van Otterloo and Toots Thielemans is a guest on the record too. Michel Legrand claimed that Rita was the ultimate interpreter of his songs and that this record was perfection! The album won the Edison Award.

RecordAlbum cover of “Rita Reys sings Michel Legrand”

The combination of Rita’s smooth voice, her phrasing, the grand orchestration that carries the songs rather then overwhelm them, the magical Toots Thielemans on the harmonica…what can I say, download the record on Itunes or buy it!