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.
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.
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 Beccas 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
Thanks to Discovery, Beccas 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.
highlights in Beccas 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,
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
Seattles 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
Halberstadts, recording, Clockwork released by Pony
Beccas 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 Beccas being presented with
the Golden Ear Award as Vocalist of the Year 2001 by Seattles Earshot
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 Stovers 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 shell be putting
herself into it one hundred percent. Dont miss her.