Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sweet and Swinging
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
The best jazz singer you've never heard of.
Mary Whipple | New England | 05/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chris Connor is one of the best jazz singers America has ever produced, yet few people now recognize her name, and fewer have reviewed her records here. Making her mark originally with the Stan Kenton Band (and recommended for that job by June Christie), Connor has a unique style--her earthiness best enhanced by minimal accompaniment. Her simple presentations and reluctance to use her vibrato emphasize her clean and simple style, and her drama with lyrics and ability to whisper on key give power to a song without pyrotechnics.
Connor was one of the first big singers to abandon the concert stage in favor of the smaller, more intimate jazz clubs, and the maturity she gained in the clubs, and her freedom to explore the jazz potential of the songs she was singing, led her to feel more comfortable with smaller orchestration. She can play with the melody, timing, and phrasing with the best of the best jazz singers, and her musical flexibility makes her a consummate musician, not simply a singer.
This CD, recorded in 1978, when she was fifty-one, is mistitled. Most of the songs are not "sweet and swinging." In fact, most are jazz songs, some with new interpretations, and many emphasize bluesy treatments. Though Connor is soft and dramatic on songs like "When Sunny Gets Blue," and "Here's That Rainy Day," she goes full out and wails at the end of "Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home." Among the best songs here are "Out of this World," in which a single bass note (by bassist Mike Moore) is her primary accompaniment, and the gorgeous "I Wish You Love," with a soft flute by Jerry Dodgion and the quiet piano of Mike Abene. My favorite on the CD is "Where Flamingos Fly," in which she practically whispers, achieving great power for the lyrics, with almost no accompaniment at all.
This jazz singer, performing with a quartet of outstanding jazz musicians (Mike Abene on piano, Mike Moore on bass, Ronnie Bedford on drums, and Derry Dodgion on alto sax and flute), manages to keep things simple, avoiding the easy pyrotechnics of concert stars in favor of the honest emotion of the small club, proving once again that "less is more." The stars given here are limited only because this CD is a mere 31 minutes long. For one of Connors's best CDs at a still reasonable price, try "Chris Connor Sings Lullaby of Birdland." n Mary Whipple
Sings Lullabys of Birdland
For a terrific live performance, see Chris Connor at the Village Gate: At the Village Gate"