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Cheryl Bentyne Remembers Rebecca Parris

The Manhattan Transfer singer shares her memory of “Boston’s First Lady of Jazz” (12/28/51 - 6/17/18)

Rebecca Parris
Rebecca Parris (photo: James Gavin)

Years ago Rebecca opened for the Manhattan Transfer in Boston, and she blew my mind. She blew the audience away; she blew us away. We hung out a bit at the show, but then I wasn’t in contact with her for many years, not until the Christmas before she passed. I saw her do a Christmas show, and she was using crutches and had such a bad cold she could hardly talk. But she sang beautifully; her phrasing was like a master class. After the show, she said, “Where’s Cheryl?” She was feeling horrible, but she sat there and laughed hard. She had a great spirit, just delightful. I wanted she and I to do [Boston club] Scullers together. We were reaching out to each other at what was obviously a strange time in her life. And then the news came. It was shocking. I didn’t know how ill she had been.

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