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Vocalist Irene Reid Dies at 77

Irene Reid, who sang with the Count Basie band and recorded on her own for more than 30 years, died January 4th after a long illness. She was 77.

Born in 1930 in New York, Reid received her first break in 1948 when she won the talent contest at the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem. She then joined the band of Dick Vance, with which she stayed for two years, playing regularly at the Savoy Ballroom. In 1961 she joined Basie’s band, touring and recording with them before striking out on her own, calling her group Irene Reid & Co. She recorded albums for MGM, Verve and Polydor in the ’60s and early ’70s and was still performing in the ’80s, although her recording output ceased until 1989, when she cut a new album. That would be followed by several for the Savant label during the 1990s and early ’00s. She continued to perform occasionally until shortly before her death.

Originally Published