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Rebecca Zapen | Hummingbird

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United States - Florida

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Jazz: Bossa Nova Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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by Rebecca Zapen

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.
Genre: Jazz: Bossa Nova
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Andrea
4:00 $0.99
2. Halfway Down The Stairs
2:09 $0.99
3. Look For The Silver Lining
2:59 $0.99
4. I Fall In Love Too Easily
3:54 $0.99
5. Shooting Star
4:33 $0.99
6. We'll Be Together Again
5:25 $0.99
7. Corcovado (Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars)
3:48 $0.99
8. Someone To Watch Over Me
4:23 $0.99
9. Nature Boy
4:33 $0.99
10. Over The Rainbow
6:33 $0.99
11. How Does Your Tomorrow Look
5:07 $0.99
12. Take Wing
3:11 $0.99
13. You Are There
4:10 $0.99
14. Hummingbird
3:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
{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, Suzanne Vega, Stephane Grappelli, and Chet Baker.

As a performer of many musical styles, including jazz, swing, classical, klezmer, country, folk, and rock, Zapen has performed with or opened for such artists as Vassar Clements, Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys, Trisha Yearwood, Chris Botti, Longineu Parsons, and Michael Ray of Sun Ra, and played in musical groups and symphony orchestras in the United States, and in the UK and Europe. She 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 CDBaby.com. Her newest album is all original indie folk-pop, Japanese Bathhouse, also available on CDBaby.

{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. She was the mandolin soloist for Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, and was a featured vocal soloist with the Hollywood Philharmonic Orchestra.

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."



to write a review


very fine recording
Hummingbird is a fine CD. Zapen's voice is clear, sexy, and very cool to listen to. The band and arrangements are expert, and Zapen's violin adds a neat texture to the whole thing.

Dennis C. Weiser

When I heard RZ and her band on Michael Feldman's WHADDYA KNOW? game show, I knew I had to get these 2 cds (Hummingbird and Zapstar). I like Hummingbird the best, though both albums have snazzy covers of classic American pop tunes. The last cd I bought was Susannah McCorkle, so Rebecca's in good company. My suggestion: more of Zapen's original songs, fewer covers in future. Andrea is a knock-out! Love & XOXOXO's, D. C. Weiser

Mary Evelyn Bell

I was very impressed with the CD. The vocals were great, and the jazz violin was incredible! Reminds me of Stephane Grapelli (sp?).

Gene Strantz

Bravo and Many Encores for Delightful Artistry.
Rebecca Zapen's playful, delightful interpretations of such standards as Fever, Over The Rainbow, Someone To Watch Over Me et al. are exquisite bonbons. The accompaniments on her recordings are also very engaging.

There is no doubt in my mind but that she is a talent that will receive ever growing recognition and a vast following of appreciative fans.
Gene from WolfFair

ande rasmussen

Hummingbird is remarkable
Hummingbird is a remarkable collection of beautiful songs. Rebecca Zapen's voice is sultry and soothing.


Striking mix of self-styled instrument play and enticing vocals exquisitely comm
Zapen on-the-heels of her debut solo release, HUMMINGBIRD, fuses nine melodically lucid sleepy-jazz numbers with five dazzling originals. Framed by sultry voice and companion violin, her music levitates and spawns an airy-dreamlike sensation for all within earshot. "Look For The Silver Lining" stands out as a highlight with breathy vocals, nimble violin and complimentary jazz-band backing. Seductive and spellbinding "I Fall In Love Too Easily" unveils a soundtrack of first love. "Shooting Star", a Zapen original and one of the strongest selections, entertains with lighthearted playfulness helping to set the tone for the remainder of the CD. "Corcovado" (Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars) featured in a recent movie soundtrack finds Zapen mastering the alluring song as if it were her own.

Three of the four final song selections written by Zapen, "How Does Your Tomorrow Look", "Take Wing" and CD namesake "Hummingbird" all humbly yet radiantly find Zapen’s striking mix of self-styled instrument play and enticing vocals exquisitely commingled.

HUMMINGBIRD excites and stimulates in such a way that Zapen’s presence and passionate play accompany the CD with each listen.

David A. Grissett


SONGBIRD: Violinist Rebecca Zapen is a first-string player
Some musical experiences can be likened to food, with certain dishes representing different songs and styles. Listening to violinst/vocalist Rebecca Zapen's new CD, "Hummingbird" (Bashert, 2003), is like enjoying strong coffee and a delectable dessert after a rich, satisfying meal. Mellow melodies, like the album-opening original "Andrea", soothe, while more up-tempo tunes energize. Zapen's voice and violin intertwine and compliment one another gracefully. The songs are somewhat reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto, with tone and melody that at times imply a breezy tropic isle, and at others suggest a New York City rooftop strung with paper lanterns. When the musicians hit their mark, they are capable of tranporting listeners beyond sound. -- Flora Fair