Becca Duran is a Los Angeles, California native but she definitely found her jazz wings in the Pacific Northwest. A resident of Seattle, Washington, she is an accomplished jazz singer who, if you ask the top-flight jazz instrumentalists she works with, is known for the beauty of her sound, excellent time feel and superb phrasing. Her singing matches flexibility and purity of tone with intelligence, wit and sensuality. She tells a story and creates an ambiance in the best tradition of the art form. This is a vocalist who consistently delivers emotionally honest phrasing, true to the lyrics and melodies of a wide variety of re-examined jazz standards. Her recordings are equally well reviewed locally in her hometown of Seattle, as well as nationally in well-respected jazz journals and magazines.

Becca first showed up on the Seattle jazz scene in the late 70s. She played gigs with many of the finest jazz instrumentalists in the area, several of them legends, including Red Kelly, Freddie Greenwell, Buddy Catlett, Floyd Standifer, Julian Priester, Bill Ramsay and Jack Perciful. She worked with other seasoned musicians like Joni Metcalf, Dean Hodges, Chuck Metcalf, Bob Nixon and Jim Knapp. Becca also performed with Dave Peterson, Denny Goodhew, Chuck Deardorf, Dave Coleman, Dean Johnson and Marc Seales, who, like her, were young players just beginning to make a name for themselves. A singer for all seasons, Becca continues to work today with many rising stars such as Gary Versace, Jon Wikan, and Joshua Wolf of New York City, and John Hansen, Chris Stover, and Geoff Harper based in Seattle.

Becca’s first guest appearance on a CD was on well-known multi-instrumentalist (brass and winds) Jay Thomas’ project, “Easy Does It.” The album was released on the Discovery label. Thomas featured the legendary Cedar Walton on piano, David Williams on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. The record company owner, Albert Marx, noticed Becca’s guest vocal and liked it so much that he called Thomas and asked if there were any more recordings with Becca. From there, Becca, with Jay Thomas as producer, fashioned her first CD project, “Hide and Seek.” Albert Marx released “Hide and Seek” on the Discovery label shortly before his death. ("Hide and Seek" was recently re-released under the title "In Love Again.")

Thanks to Discovery, Becca’s debut CD, “Hide and Seek” received nationwide comment for its combination of far-ranging musicality and excellent production. For “Hide and Seek” she co-wrote eight original songs with various collaborators including New York city pianist, Richie Beirach, Toronto jazz pianist Bernie Senensky, “Brazil 66”, Kansas City-based guitarist Danny Embry, and Jay Thomas, providing the total package of her diversity as a jazz vocalist. Later, Bernie Brightman, owner of Stash Records in New York City, chose a cut from the CD, “Blues for McVouty” featuring Becca, and included it in the 1994 “Stash Sampler” which was distributed worldwide.

Other highlights in Becca’s early years as a jazz vocalist include several tours to Japan, the first trip made when she was selected as a jazz artist to represent Seattle in a cultural art exchange with sister city, Kobe, Japan. She has performed regularly in Tokyo and other Japanese cities throughout her career.

She appeared for twelve weeks during the opening of the new Four Seasons Hotel in Maui. She appeared at the Jazz Alley with well-known jazz pianist, Jessica Williams. She has been a popular headliner at Bumbershoot, Centrum Jazz Festival, Bellevue Jazz Festival, Earshot Jazz Festival and the Pike Place Market Festival in Seattle. After hearing her on "Jazz After Hours," a nationally-syndicated jazz radio program, the owner of the Majestic Hotel Jazz Club in St. Louis invited Becca to do a gig there. In addition, she was invited to sing a cut on a recording project of big band jazz arrangements of Andrew Lloyd Weber songs entitled “Seattle’s Best New Brew” on Emerald City Records, produced by jazz legend Teo Macero. She also appears as one of the Northwest jazz vocalists chosen to be featured on the superb jazz pianist, Randy Halberstadt’s, recording, “Clockwork” released by Pony Boy Records.

Becca’s most recent projects include a Brazilian flavored CD entitled “Song for Rita” for which she wrote the title track, dedicated to her mother. This album was followed shortly by a standards project entitled “If You Could See Me Now.” Both CDs have received excellent notice which may account in part for Becca’s being presented with the Golden Ear Award as Vocalist of the Year 2001 by Seattle’s Earshot Jazz organization.

In the not-too-distant future, Becca will appear on a project due to be released by an exciting horn player, Cynthia Mullis, who relocated to Seattle from New York City a few years ago. Becca is also busy working with Chris Stover’s artful and dynamic orchestra, “Acquired Involuntary Narcissism” as well as the “Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra,” “The Friendly Fire Big Band” and the “Usual Suspects Big Band.” She appears with her quartet regularly in the Seattle area.

Becca is a lyricist and has collaborated with composers and singers on a variety of projects. She has written lyrics in English, French and Spanish. Her lyrics are often playful, celebrating life and love in all its pathos and humor. But she has also written lyrics that have addressed serious issues, such as the “disappeared” in South America, and she was commissioned to write lyrics for a song about the subject of hope and loss for breast cancer victims.

In addition to private students, Becca has been asked by the following schools to conduct vocal clinics for aspiring jazz singers: Roosevelt High School, Hamilton International School, Central Washington State University, and Eastern Washington State University, and she has taught music history courses on a part-time basis at South Seattle Community College.

Keep your eye out for Becca Duran. Her music covers a lot of ground. You may catch her fronting a big band or in a small intimate setting with bass and guitar or a quartet setting with a horn player. You may be surprised, after hearing her sing Brazilian jazz and standards, to hear her cut loose on the blues. Whatever she happens to be doing she’ll be putting herself into it one hundred percent. Don’t miss her.

 

 
 
     


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