After an early plunge into the pop music of the time, singer Rita Keys (1924-2013) came to jazz when, in 1943, she met Wessel Ilcken (1923-1957), Hollands then best drummer. She became his wife, and the influence of his teachings, allied to the impact on her of recordings by such American singers as Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday helped her forge a very personal style.
This collection of songs sets her wonderfully cool voice and sophisticated approach against backgrounds which, though different, reflect her ability to stamp her personality on diverse circumstances to produce equally interesting performances. Regardless of context, her artistry is supremely evident throughout. Every song is approached with an instinctive musicianship and feeling for the lyrics, and an innate sense of phrasing, which fill each performance with an inescapable atmosphere.
01. Deed I Do (Rose-Hish) 3:07
02. Over the Rainbow (Arlen-Harburg) 2:49
03. Lullaby in Rhythm (Goodman-Sampson-Profit-Hirsh) 3:03
04. Hes Funny That Way (Moret-Whiting) 3:05
05. Exactly Like You (McHugh-Fields) 2:30
06. Theres a Small Hotel (Lorenz-Hart) 2:32
07. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers-Hart) 2:58
08. Wailing for Weelink (Bezemer) 3:11
09. I Should Care (Weston-Stordahl-Cahn) 2:38
10. There Will Never Be Another You (Warren-Gordon) 2:26
11. For Minors Only (Van Rooyen) 3:10
12. Its All Right with Me (Porter) 2:37
13. Gone with the Wind (Wrubel-Magidson) 2:34
14. But Not for Me (G. & I. Gershwin) 2:09
15. Moonlight in Vermont (Suessdorf-Blackburn) 2:35
16. Ill Wind (Arlen-Koehler) 3:26
17. Youd Be So Nice To Come Home To (Cole Porter) 3:35
18. Taking a Chance On Love (Duke-LaTouche-Fetter) 2:34
19. I Cried for You (Freed-Arnheim-Lyman) 3:29
20. That Old Black Magic (Arlen-Mercer) 2:55
21. My One and Only Love (Mellin-Wood) 4:14
22. Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year (Frank Loesser) 3:40
01. Old Devil Moon (Harburg-Lane) 2:39
02. Star Eyes (Raye-De Paul) 4:16
03. The Song Is You (Kern-Hammerstein II) 3:12
04. Keepin Myself for You (Youmans-Clare) 3:09
05. Falling In Love with Love (Rodgers-Hart) 2:33
06. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (Wolf-Landesman) 3:55
07. Hes My Guy (Raye-De Paul) 2:19
08. (There Is) No Greater Love (Jones-Symes) 3:18
09. Please Be Kind (Chaplin-Cahn) 4:05
10. Where Are You? (McHugh-Adamson) 3:43
11. They Didnt Believe Me (Kern-Reynolds) 3:14
12. Only a Moment Ago (Rose-Ager) 3:04
13. You Stepped Out Of a Dream (Kahn-Brown) 2:44
14. Its Mine After All (Darwin-Mathews) 3:00
15. When the Blues Come On (Cohn) 3:56
16. All of You (Porter) 2:30
Sources CD 1:
Tracks #1 & 2, from 78 rpm Artist (Swd) B3095
Tracks #3 & 4, from 78 rpm Artist (Swd) B3097
Tracks #5 & 6, from 78 rpm Artist (Swd) B3131
Track #7, from 45 rpm Philips (Du) P17415 H
Tracks #8-11, from 45 rpm Philips (Du) 422 051 PE
Tracks #12-16, from 45 rpm Philips (Du) 422 080 PE
Tracks #19-22, from 45 rpm Philips (Du) 422 259 PE
Tracks #17-22 issued as "The Cool Voice of Rita Reys" (Philips (Du) B 08006 L)
Also issued in U.S. with the same title (Columbia CL 903)
Sources CD 2:
Tracks #1,3-5, from the 45 rpm "The Song Is You" Philips 422 145 PE
Tracks #1-12, issued as "The Cool Voice of Rita Reys #2" (Philips (Du) P 08010 L)
Also issued in the U.S. as "Her Name is Rita Reys" (Epic LN 3522)
Tracks #13-16, from the album "New Voices" (Dawn (USA) DLP 1125)
Rita Reys, vocals, accompanied by
Personnel on CD 1
Tracks #1-4: LARS GULLIN QUARTET
Lars Gullin, alto (#1,2) & baritone (#3,4) sax; Gunnar Svensson, piano; Simon Brehm, bass; Wes Ilcken, drums.
Recorded in Stockholm, March 2, 1953
Tracks #5-6: OVE LINDS SEXTET
Ove Lind, clarinet; Bo Kallstrom, vibes; Hasse Eriksson, piano; Rolf Berg, guitar; Gunnar Almstedt, bass; Jack Noren, drums.
Recorded in Stockholm, September 24, 1953
Track #7: THE WESSEL ILCKEN QUINTET
Dick Bezemer, trombone; Toon Van Vliet, tenor sax; Jerry Van Rooyen, piano; Chris Bender, bass; Wessel Ilcken, drums. Arrangement by Bezemer and Van Rooyen.
Recorded in Hilversum, January 17, 1955
Tracks #8-11: THE WESSEL ILCKEN QUINTET
Jerry Van Rooyen, trumpet & arranger; Toon Van Vliet, tenor sax; Rob Madna, piano; Dick Bezemer, bass; Wessel Ilcken, drums. Rita Reys, out on #8 and 11.
Recorded in Hilversum, August 16, 1955
Tracks #12-16: THE WESSEL ILCKEN QUINTET
Ack Van Rooyen, trumpet; Herman Schoonderwalt, baritone sax; Rob Madna, piano; Dick Bezemer, bass; Wessel Ilcken, drums. Jerry Van Rooyen, arranger.
Recorded in Hilversum, February 16, 1956
Tracks #17-20: THE JAZZ MESSENGERS
Donald Byrd, trumpet & arranger (#17); Hank Mobley, tenor sax; Horace Silver, piano & arranger (#18); Doug Watkins, bass; Art Blakey, drums. Gerry Van Rooyen, arranger (on #19,20).
Recorded in New York City, May 3, 1956
Donald Byrd, trumpet; Ira Sullivan, tenor sax; Kenny Drew, piano; Wilbur Ware, bass; Art Blakey, drums; Horace Silver, arranger.
Recorded in New York City, June 25, 1956
Personnel on CD 2
Tracks #1-6: Orchestra Arranged & Conducted by TOM DISSEVELT
String and woodwind sections; also featuring Karel Reys, alto sax; Pim Jacobs, piano; Rudy Jacobs, bass; Wessel Ilcken, drums.
Recorded in Hilversum, March 25, 1957
Tracks #7-12: Orchestra Arranged & Conducted by JAN CORDUWENER
String, brass and woodwind sections; also featuring Pim Jacobs, piano; Rudy Jacobs, bass; Wessel Ilcken, drums.
Recorded in Hilversum, March 26 & 27, 1957
Tracks #13-16: MAT MATHEWS QUINTET
Mat Mathews, accordion & arranger; Harry Lookofsky, viola; Barry Galbraith, guitar; Milt Hinton, bass; Osie Johnson, drums.
Recorded in New York City, May 1957
Original recordings produced by Artist Fonogram (#1-6), Michiel de Ruyter and George Avakian (CD-1 #17-22).
Compiled for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"Rita Reys had a long career often keeping serious jazz company. Wessell Ilcken was largely responsible for directing her early career (they were married from 1945 until his death in 1957), while better known was Pim Jacobs, her second husband, although he appears here only on the tracks with a studio orchestra. Jerry Van Rooyen is distinguished in jazz and film score composing; his brother, Ack, still leads a small group. The two sessions with the Jazz Messengers straddle Silvers departure, although the second sessions charts are his work. Mathews plays the unpopular (in jazz circles) accordion, yet improvised inventively and arranged well.
Throughout, Reys sound and approach are mature (she was approaching 30 at the time of the first of these dates) and she sings with rhythmic flair, good jazz phrasing and interprets the lyrics well. Her diction is husky yet clear and her pronunciation such that only rarely, on some vowel sounds, is it apparent that she is singing in what is for her a foreign language. Among instrumentalists providing well-taken solos are Gullin, playing alto on the first two tracks, baritone on the others, Byrd, Mobley, Sullivan and Silver, all on the Jazz Messenger dates, and Mathews.
Instrumentalists aside, this album focuses on the singer and it is thoroughly enjoyable, providing as it does a portrait of a significant Dutch jazz singing talent in good form. Some of this material has been reissued on CD but not I think as comprehensively as this and Jordi Pujol is to be congratulated for bringing this fine singer to wider attention."
-Bruce Crowther (Jazz Journal, June 2015)