Mavis Rivers

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Mavis Rivers

Samoan-born Mavis Rivers has been described as one of the world’s greatest female jazz singers – Frank Sinatra is said to have called her the ‘purest voice’ in jazz, comparing her to Ella Fitzgerald. 

Rivers sang on many of New Zealand's earliest popular music releases on the TANZA and Zodiac record labels in the early 1950s, but also developed her talents as a jazz singer. 

Rivers moved to the United States and after marrying and starting a family, resuming her career in the late 1950s when she was signed by Capitol Records and then Sinatra's Reprise Records. She released several albums which sold well and she enjoyed a long career touring and performing at jazz festivals on both sides of the Pacific.

In this interview from 1963 Mavis Rivers talks about the thrill she gets from performing with leading jazz musicians of the day.

Find out more about Mavis Rivers:

Read the Te Ara biography of Mavis Rivers. 

Read more about Rivers' career on AudioCulture.

See Mavis Rivers's profile on 

See Mavis Rivers' Trailblazers profile. 

Image: Mavis Rivers alongside a microphone. New Zealand Free Lance, 1950. (Ref: PAColl-6388-13. Alexander Turnbull Library).

Catalogue Reference 24832

Year 1963


Radio New Zealand

Excerpt: 0:01:46

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