Rita Reys - since 1960 officially Europe's First Lady of Jazz-
has been a professional performer for more than six decades.
Even today, this jazz diva still knows how to charm audiences
with her famously unique timing, legendary swing and
HER EARLY YEARS
Maria Everdina Reys was born on 21 December 1924 in
Rotterdam, in an artistic family: her father was a violin player
and conductor, her mother a dancer. At home, there was
virtually no jazz music. Her parents preferred light classical
music instead, so Rita grew up with the sounds of
Tchaikovsky and Chopin. But the singing was already in her
blood: As a teenager, Rita entered many local talent
competitions and won them all.
RITA MEETS JAZZ
In 1943, Rita met her first husband, jazz drummer Wessel
Ilcken, who introduced her into the jazz scene