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They say good things come in small packages. And so it goes with jazz vocalist, Francina Connors. In an age of gimmicks and slick packaging, this diminutive songstress returns majesty and beauty to the first instrument with a natural and unaffected style.
In just a few years on the New York scene, Francina's vocal stylings have led to performances in such noted jazz venues as Smalls, TheVillage Gate, Birdland, St. Nick's Pub and Tatou. To her credit, Francina has performed with young jazz artists Cyrus Chestnut (P), Gerald Cannon (B), Bruce Edwards (G), Eric Lewis (P), as well as seasoned veterans Joe Knight (P), Bill Lee (B), Tom Macintosh (Arr./Trb), John Ore (B) and Britt Woodman (Trb).
The daughter of a classical pianist, Francina began singing at five, continuing on to numerous choirs, small ensembles, public television work and solo competitions. She contributes her keen ear and harmonic sense to a rich diet of musical styles. Her background includes classical, spirituals and extensive choral work as well as the sounds of her Cleveland, OH roots, which provided an intro to jazz with a healthy foundation in R&B, soul and funk.
Francina fell in love with jazz while at Oberlin College. While studying voice in the Oberlin Conservatory, she performed as soloist for the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble under Wendell Logan and Kenny Davis. Subsequently she moved to the dues paying New York City to further hone her skills. She's studied with Opera Ebony's Wayne Saunders and, under the careful tutelage of jazz masters Barry Harris and Benny Powell, continues making headway on the competitive New York jazz scene.
Francina's wide vocal range and diverse musical background have afforded her a myriad of opportunities in and out of jazz. From an Off-Broadway show with Thuli and Dumakude and The South African Singers to recording with Calypso artist, Arrow, jazz Bassist Bill Lee and The Bill Lee Family Singers and recently performing and recording with the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra (Blue Lion Music) - this artist definitely likes to stretch! Her latest endeavors include joining the Barry Harris Jazz Choir in festival in Den Haag, The Netherlands, a voice and guitar project, clubdates throughout the New York area and nurturing a long-standing passion -songwriting.
If talent, charm and tenacity are the keys to success, expect a bright future for this blossoming young artist.
CONTACT: Cinarae Music STYLE: All styles (jazz concentration)
P.O. Box 1196,
New York, NY 10026
Harlem Arts and Music Festival (Performed with my group, The Francina Connors Quartet. Francina Connors (V), Eric Lewis (P), Hill Greene (B) and Craig Haynes (D).
The Barry Harris Jazz Workshop. Performed with Barry Harris Community Choir in workshop at the Dutch Royal Conservatory, Den Haag, The Netherlands.
?To be Titled? with the Barry Harris Jazz Choir.
Contour Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. (Blue Lion Music.) 1998. Featured vocalist.
Performed on several demo projects.
Demo project accompanied by Cyrus Chestnut (P), Ernie Barnes (B) and Taru Alexander (D).
?Knock 'em Dead. Arrow. 1987.
?Gethsemane Park.?(Musical) Written by Ishmael Reed. Directed by Rome Neal. Nuyorican Poet?s ?Café. New York.
Thuli Dumakude and the South African Singers. John Houseman Theater, New York, NY.
Cry Freedom (Movie). Gala screening. Paramount Pictures. Hollywood, CA.
Classical Music of Our Heritage. A children's musical on the history of jazz.
The Children's Museum of Manhattan.
Czechoslovakian Marionette Theater. Rasulka A marionette theater piece featuring music by Anton Dvorak and a commissioned jazz work by Bassist/Composer, William Parker. Performed the jazz voice of puppet character, Rasulka.
NIGHTCLUBS AND OTHER VENUES
Various venues including: Smalls...Birdland...Sweet Basil...
St. Nick's Pub...Nuyorican Poet's Café...Porter's NY...Town Hall... Symphony Space...Londel's...The Sugar Bar...The Queens Museum of Art?The Studio Museum of Harlem?New York and Queens Public Libraries.
OTHER CREDITS (including television credits)
The Manchurian Candidate. Film. Extra. To be release, 2004. sr acm
Jazz Corner (Featuring The Francina Connors Quartet (to be taped October 8, 1999 at MNN)
International Women in Jazz. Manhattan Neigborhood Network (MNN). Cable television show sponsored by the International Women in Jazz. 1996-1997. Host.
Opening Night with Genovis Albright (Cable, MNN, BCAT and Bronx Cable). Featured Guest.
The Barry Harris Community Chorus.
Oberlin College, B.A., Govt., Oberlin Conservatory of Music (Studied Voice (Gerald Crawford),Jazz Improvisation and Jazz Ensemble (Wendell Logan); Univ. of Amherst (Bright Moments Summer Jazz Workshop); Jazzmobile; Voice (Jack Waddell) and Jazz Theory Classes (Barry Harris Jazz Workshop).