Since Rebecca Jade, the first niece, is having a significant natal day tomorrow, I figured it was time to write about her again.
She and her parents lived in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC, for her first two years. I first visited her when she was a month old. For sure, I was at her first and second birthday parties. Then, her family moved to Puerto Rico.
Still, I’d see her on occasion. The picture above is after my Grandma Williams’ funeral at Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton, NY. It’s my favorite picture of us together, although the one of me walking with little Becky, when she’s wearing a red jumper, is cool too.
She, her mother, and I would converge on Charlotte, NC, for my parents’ anniversaries divisible by 5. We often had family photos taken. On one occasion, Rebecca had remnants of chicken pox on her face, which shows a bit in the photo.
I attended her high school graduation in El Cajon, CA. She played basketball for Berkeley, and I saw her play once at a road game in the NYC area; I also made it to her college graduation.
She was at both of my parents’ funerals in 2000 and 2011. My mom’s was the latter when she first met my daughter. But my daughter had seen Rebecca on television in a competition called Wipeout on ABC-TV in 2010. My niece placed second.
Rebecca attended my last wedding in 1999, and I attended hers to Rico in 2005. My family, Rebecca and Rico, spent Thanksgiving 2013 together at our cousin Anne’s house in New Rochelle, NY.
The first musical recording of the first niece was a three-song demo when she was a teenager. However, one of her earliest albums was 2011’s The Jade Element, which one can find here.
There are two Rebecca Jade and The Cold Fact albums, the 2015 eponymous one and 2019’s Running Out Of Time. You can get the former here or here. The latter can be found here or here ,or on vinyl – vinyl! – here or here.
In 2018, I caught Rebecca and the Cold Fact’s gig in a San Diego club. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen her perform professionally, but it was the initial time I saw her with her band. They won a humungous $5,000 check!
I’ve seen her sing with jazz guitarist Peter Sprague and his band several times during his Liveish sessions online. Even during the height of COVID, they performed by being in separate rooms or even outside. Check out It’s For You (2021), Are You Going With Me (2021), In My Life (2022), and Guinnevere (2023).
Peter and Rebecca recorded the excellent Planet Cole Porter in 2017, which you can get here. Check out the title song, the only one not written by Porter, live.
Being a bit of an RJ completist, I also have Sparks and Seeds by Peter Sprague and Randy Phillips (2018). Rebecca sings four songs, with additional tunes by Emily Elbert, Leonard Patton, Lisa Hightower, and Allison Adams Tucker
During COVID, Rebecca did about a dozen Home Made shows. Some are on Facebook. Episodes 10 and 11 11 on YouTube.
She’s put together a great new album, A Shade of Jade, which one can get at her website, along with seeing more videos, checking out her upcoming shows, and the like.
In 2023, I got to see Rebecca thrice. On July 4, she was supposed to sing backup for Sheila E. as she had in NYC in 2017 and at the New York State Fair in 2019. A thunderstorm canceled the show, but my extended family and I got to talk with her at the hotel where the band stayed.
In August, she sang in a Syracuse park. My wife, my daughter, and I saw her before the performance. Afterward, we got to hang out with her, a couple of the musicians, and promoters. Then, in late September, I saw her, for 10 seconds, in the Charlotte airport as she rushed to her connecting flight.
I would have gone to see her on the Dave Koz Christmas tour this year, as I did in 2021, when I went down to Long Island, but in 2023, they are not getting closer than Cleveland and near Pittsburgh.
Happy birthday, first niece! I love you, but you knew that, didn’t you?