Rebecca Sullivan

Rebecca Sullivan is a native Pennsylvanian and grew up in York. She was raised singing in her family’s acappella gospel choir, learning classical piano (and winning competitions), and studying American standards from the 1940s through the ’50s. She performed folk music at open-mic nights while a Reed College student, and accompanied herself with guitar. Her first encounter with jazz was in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2004, where she studied Russian literature for a semester. She was able to experience live jazz. Sullivan spent a lot of time listening to recordings by Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington while in Russia. Once she returned to the United States, she was already on her path to becoming a jazz singer. In 2006, she moved to Chicago to attend the Bloom School of Jazz. She also started attending Von Freeman’s weekly jam session in the New Apartment Lounge. Mike Allemana, Freeman’s long-time guitarist, was impressed by her. He says, “It’s refreshing to find someone young who can sing these beautiful old songs.” Soon, Sullivan had quit her job at the University of Chicago Press to dedicate herself to singing. She says that she felt overwhelmed when she got the courage to ask Mike if Mike would perform a gig for her. He said yes and we did more gigs together, and then we recorded the album together. Sullivan, now 29 years old, will begin the next chapter of her musical journey in Boston where she plans on pursuing a master’s at the New England Conservatory. She says, “I’ll be studying under Dominique Eade and then I’ll have an independent improvisation teacher.” “I chose to go to NEC because I wanted to immerse myself in the intense musical learning atmosphere they offer as well as to grow as a musician/songwriter. NEC is also home to some outstanding jazz musicians, including Luciana Souza and Roberta Gambarini. “And I can’t wait for the East Coast to be back!”

Leave a Comment