Les Double Six, 1962: (L-R) Jean-Claude Briodin, Eddy Louiss, Ward Swingle, Claude Germain, Mimi Perrin, Claudine Meunier

Jeannine “Mimi” Perrin (February 2, 1926 – November 16, 2010). Jazz pianist, singer, translator.

Mimi Perrin studied English and music in her youth. She began her career as leader and pianist of a jazz trio, before becoming a backing singer for jazz vocalist Blossom Dearie. In 1959, she formed the jazz vocal sextet, Les Double Six. The group created 12-part harmonies by overdubbing their vocals. Perrin was the French equivalent of Jon Hendricks or Eddie Jefferson, creating (often humorous) French vocalese lyrics to classic jazz tunes, including songs by Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, and Ray Charles. Members of Les Double Six included Christiane Legrand (sister of film composer Michel Legrand) and Ward Swingle. Les Double Six won Downbeat magazine’s “Best Jazz Vocal Group” award twice. When ill-health from tuberculosis forced Mimi Perrin to leave the group in 1965, Ward Swingle took it over and transformed it into the famous Swingle Singers.

In her later years, Mimi Perrin translated several works into French, including biographies of leading jazz artists like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Quincy Jones, as well as the Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and the spy novels of John le Carré.