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MP3 Rebecca Zapen - Hummingbird

Jazz vocalist/violinist Rebecca Zapen''s debut album includes jazz ballads, bossa nova, and originals, in which voice and violin intertwine with tone and melody that at times imply a breezy tropic isle, and at others suggest a New York City rooftop.

14 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Bossa Nova, JAZZ: Smooth Jazz

{The Short Version}
Rebecca Zapen is a violinist/singer/songwriter from Jacksonville, Florida. Zapen is known for her versatile violin playing, pure clear voice, and her ability to write nostalgia-infused music. She earned her music and biology degrees while attending Florida State University on a music scholarship. Her music has earned her comparisons to Astrud Gilberto, Norah Jones, and Suzanne Vega, and includes in her list of influences musicians such as Stephane Grappelli, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Chet Baker.

As a performer of many musical styles, including jazz, swing, classical, klezmer, country, folk, and rock, Zapen has performed with such artists as Vassar Clements, Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys, and Trisha Yearwood, and played in musical groups and symphony orchestras in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York City, Illinois, England, and Wales. She recently released her debut solo album, Hummingbird (Bashert Records, 2003), a jazz album blending violin, voice, sax, marimba, and rhythm section into a warm spacious sound, available at https://www.tradebit.com. Rebecca has been performing with Michelle Payne since 2002, and in addition to playing on the debut album of The Michelle Payne Band, together, Michelle and Rebecca have also released a self-titled EP as a folk duo. The Rebecca Zapen Trio performs her original jazz and folk compositions.

{In the Beginning}
Originally classically trained, Rebecca began studying violin at the age of 3, learning through the Suzuki method from her mother, Lois Gosa. Rebecca attended Florida State University on scholarship, receiving Bachelors degrees in music and biology. While there, she studied with Eliot Chapo, Lisa Robertson, Bill Kennedy (jazz), and had the privilege to play for jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano.

Her uncanny ability to mimic and echo, both vocally and via her violin, was apparent at a young age, when Rebecca, at age 2, would sing violin concertos from the back seat of her mother''s car. At age 6, not wanting to go to bed, she came out of her bedroom with her violin, playing by-ear the TV show theme to "Dallas", as her parents watched the opening credits to the show.

{Branching Out}
It was during her college years that Rebecca began to explore more outside of the classical realm, studying jazz and performing in local Tallahassee venues. Soon after, Rebecca joined northeast Florida klezmer band, Klezmania, where she added a spark with her beautiful vocal harmonies and lively violin solos. Playing out in public led to musical collaborations with groups including new world lounge band Tropic of Cancer, folk trio Blue Horse, award-winning poet Al Letson, and acclaimed blues and swing band Pretty Boy Freud. In addition to promoting her new album, Hummingbird, Zapen''s projects include her original-music group, The Rebecca Zapen Trio, and performing with indie rockers Michelle Payne Band, and jazz combo Gary Starling Group.

A love for life combined with a thoughtful, sensitive nature is key to Rebecca''s performance style. This side of her personality is well-expressed through the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, who is also a great inspiration to her songwriting. Other influences include Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Suzanne Vega, Tierney Sutton, and Diane Hubka. Her first full-length jazz recording, Hummingbird, was released in September 2003. It features jazz standards (and not-so-standards), as well as several of Rebecca''s original tunes.

{A Versatile Performer}
An accomplished classical violinist, Zapen has played in the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, as well as other orchestras in the Southeast. She also enjoys playing in small classical chamber groups.

As an in-demand session musician, Zapen has done recordings for film soundtracks, television, public radio, and various musical groups.

A multifaceted performer, Rebecca is equally comfortable gracing a concert hall stage or an intimate cabaret, and has been delighting audiences since early childhood. She began her musical education "practically from the womb. My mother is a professional symphony violinist. Though I''m afraid I can''t remember it first hand", she smiles, "she performed Meditation [from the opera Thaïs, by Massenet] while seven months pregnant with me. My mom also has been teaching the Suzuki violin method for many years, so before I was even old enough to hold a violin I heard all of her students playing."

{Her Style}
The development of a keen ear was key to the versatility that would later develop. While studying at Florida State University, a close friend opened Rebecca''s eyes to the world of jazz. "I was blown away. The excitement it could evoke, the emotions. I knew I wanted to be a part of that music." People ask her how they can learn to play different styles of music, and the fundamental element has to be listening. "At first, I may shape my solos to sound like a particular musician, but ultimately my personal style emerges, like a signature." And it''s a signature that has made an indelible mark on the music of Florida klezmer band Klezmania and swing band Pretty Boy Freud, among others.

Her violin sounds one moment plaintive, the next moment playful, and her voice is smooth and evocative. "I try to use my voice like a violin, bending notes, leaping and inching intervals like I would on my instrument, and it works both ways. The best compliment is when someone will tell me that I really made my violin ''sing''."

{Favorite music}
"It''s a tie between gypsy jazz and bossanova these days, but really I find so much beauty in many different genres. I''ve got no problem throwing in some Vivaldi even if the whole evening consists of traditional fiddling tunes. Music is an addiction and I don''t ever want to be cured! My idea of a thrill is to discover a tune that leaves me elated and mesmerized. I''ll listen to the tune again and again, sometimes for days on end."

{Quirky talent}
"I can play just about every TV show theme from the late 70''s and 80''s. Don''t ask me why."

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