Shirley Bunnie Foy, American jazz musician, Died at 80


Shirley Bunnie Foy, also known as Bunny Foy was born on October 13, 1936, in Harlem, New York and died on November 24, 2016.

She was an American jazz singer, percussionist, and songwriter.

Foy grew up in a family of musicians and during her childhood, she discovered various kinds of music such as gospel, blues, spirituals and Caribbean songs.

Shirley, at the age of 17, began her career touring the Atlantic coast and Canada with a rhythm and blues group called “The Dell-Tones”.

Then, the ensemble was formed by Della Griffin, Gloria Lynne, Sonny Til, Slide Hampton and other notable vocalists and musicians.

In 1959, Shirley settled in Paris, then following an engagement at La Calvados, a jazz club near the Champs-Élysées, she toured with pianist Pierre Franzino (her future husband), in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and North Africa.

During 1960, Foy participated at the first Jazz Festival of Antibes/Juan-les-Pins.

During 1965, Foy performed in New York with Archie Shepp and the following years she collaborated with trumpeter Charlie Shavers, bassist Arvell Shaw, drummer Papa Jo Jones and saxophonist Curtis Porter (Shafi Hadi) on his compositions and arrangements for 16 voices.

In 1975, Foy performed (vocals, maracas, percussions) on the famous Archie Shepp album A Sea of Faces.

During her career, she worked in the U. S. with notable jazz musicians such as saxophonists Archie Shepp and Johnny Griffin, drummers Art Blakey and Jo Jones, pianist Randy Weston, organist Lou Bennett, vibraphonist Milton Jackson and in Italy with guitarists Franco Cerri and Bruno De Filippi, bassist/arranger Pino Presti, bassist Stefano Cerri, pianists Enrico Intra and Renato Sellani, drummers Gil Cuppini and Tullio De Piscopo, American clarinetist/arranger Tony Scott, Jamaican pianist Sonny Taylor and many more.

Following the 1990s, she lived in Nice (France) and continued her jazz career working with musicians such as saxophonist Sébastien Chaumont, pianists Ronnie Rae and Jean-Sébastien Simonoviez, trumpeter François Chassagnite, drummers Laurent Sarrien and Yoann Serra, bassists Bibi Rovère, Fabrice Bistoni and Dodo Goya.

Foy’s last album, Shirley Bunnie Foy (60th Anniversary), was a tribute dedicated to the singer (considered one of the great voices of jazz) on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of her career.

The album was produced by Pino Presti & Mad Of Jazz and Claudio Citarella, consists of 17 songs performed by Bunnie Foy from 1954 to 2009 and features renowned musicians such as Tony Scott, Archie Shepp, Franco Cerri, Pierre Franzino, Lou Bennett, among others (MAP Golden Jazz, 2013).

She died of a heart attack, in Nice.

Shirley Bunnie Foy passed away at 80 years old.