As an interpreter of classic American popular songs from the 1930s and 1940s, vocalist and guitarist Rebecca Kilgore helped revive the hits of yesterday for modern-era jazz audiences. Born in Waltham, MA, in 1949, she relocated to Portland, OR, at the age of 30, beginning her music career fronting an area swing band dubbed the Wholly Cats and recording a 1982 LP titled Doggin' Around. Following the group's 1984 breakup, she formed her own unit, the Rebecca Kilgore Quintet, which quickly emerged as a mainstay of the Northwest jazz scene, and in 1989, she released the cassette-only I Hear Music.
Most of Kilgore's subsequent recordings were in conjunction with other performers: In 1990, she teamed with John Miller for Put on a Happy Face, and in 1993 appeared with Portland's Tall Jazz Trio on their Plays Winter Jazz disc. However, Kilgore's most fruitful collaborations were in conjunction with pianist Dave Frishberg; after teaming for 1993's Looking at You, they reunited a year later for I Saw Stars, followed in 1997 by Not a Care in the World and again in 2001 with The Starlit Hour. At the same time, Kilgore also fronted a '60s-style country band, Beck-a-Roo, and in 1994 contributed vocals to the score of the CBS animated special Tales From the Far Side, inspired by the popular Gary Larson comic strip.