Vocalist Rebecca Kilgore is a devotee of the classics of American popular song from the 1930s and 40s. Her warm tone and swinging stylings are appreciated by jazz fans, swing dancers, and song lovers.
Born in 1949 in Waltham, Massachusetts, Rebecca moved to Portland in 1979, where she started playing music professionally as vocalist & guitarist in the popular local swing band, Wholly Cats, which enjoyed success for several years in Portland and at various Northwest traditional music festivals. The band made an album entitled Doggin' Around .
The group disbanded in '84 and she went on with her own jazz group, The Rebecca Kilgore Quintet. This group has played in many Portland jazz clubs, at Artquake, Your Zoo and All that Jazz, the Jazz Society of Oregon's annual First Jazz, Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, and was selected to appear on the mainstage of the prestigious Mount Hood Festival of Jazz in 1988.
She can now be found performing regularly with pianist Dave Frishberg; her own quintet; her 60s-style country band, Beck-a-roo; as well as in duo settings with violinist, James Mason, or guitarist Dan Faehnle; and as vocalist with the Woody Hite Big Band, Casey MacGill's Spirits of Rhythm, and as special guest with Portland's popular trio, Tall Jazz. In addition, she was featured vocalist at the Triangle Jazz Party in Kingsport, TN, the Riverside Jazz Party in Cambridge Springs, PA, and The March of Jazz in Clearwater, FL. She toured Germany with Hal Smith's California Swing Cats.
Most recent recordings are: I Saw Stars, with pianist Dave Frishberg, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, and trombonist Dan Barrett among others; Looking At You with Dave Frishberg; Tall Jazz Plays Winter Jazz, a collaboration with Portland's innovative and acclaimed Tall Jazz Trio. On Halloween night, 1994, a CBS television animation special was aired by cartoonist Gary Larson, "Tales From The Far Side" and featured a background vocal by Kilgore, accompanied by Dave Frishberg on piano and Hamilton Cheifetz on cello. Music for a second TV special for Gary Larson has been recorded with guitarist Bill Frisell, and aired in late 1996. She was interviewed by Terry Gross and gave a live performance with Dave Frishberg on Fresh Air which aired on National Public Radio in December, 1995.
She has taught jazz vocal repertoire and swing guitar at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop for the past seven years, and since 1993 at the Sound Acoustic Music Camp on Vashon Island.