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Chris Connor

Chris Connor has won every conceivable critical and popular accolade in her half century reign as one of the most gifted and distinctive vocalists in jazz history. Born in 1927 in Kansas City, Missouri, Connor studied clarinet, but her career direction was clear at an early age. “I always knew I wanted to be a singer,” she said, “I never wanted to be anything else.” After completing her schooling, she took a secretarial job while commuting on weekends to the University of Missouri to perform with a Stan Kenton-influenced college jazz band. An admirer of Kenton singers Anita O’Day and June Christy, Connor recalls, “I had my sights set on singing with Kenton.” Frustrated by the lack of vocal musical opportunities in her hometown, Connor pulled up stakes and headed east in 1949

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Stan Kenton and His Orchestra: In a Lighter Vein

Read "In a Lighter Vein" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Stan Kenton was a man of many moods, as was his intrepid and popular orchestra, which endured until his passing in August 1979 and whose renown is kept alive even today by the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra. Kenton dons his carefree hat on In a Lighter Vein, an assortment of straight-ahead themes from the orchestra's jazz ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

New Releases and a Celebration of Joni Mitchell

Read "New Releases and a Celebration of Joni Mitchell" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

The autumn harvest of new releases continues with recordings by Alan Broadbent, Brandi Disterheft, Joel Ross, The Royal Bopsters, Mary Halvorson's Code Girl, Richard Baratta, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Rebecca Hennessy, Tom Oren and Fred Hersch, with birthday shoutouts to Lauren Henderson, Sarah Jerrom, Kurt Elling, Patricia Barber, Kitty Margolis, Chris Connor and as always, Joni Mitchell. Thanks ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Two Twin-Tenor Duos

Read "Two Twin-Tenor Duos" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The idea of two tenor saxophonists playing together has a long, storied history in jazz through pairings like Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray, Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, and Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. Such duos have become harder to find in recent years but here are two newer examples. Jeff Rupert / ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

The Very Singular Mr. Ran Blake

Read "The Very Singular Mr. Ran Blake" reviewed by Duncan Heining

There have been few American composers and musicians, with the ability to encapsulate their country's music in all its racial and ethnic complexity. We might perhaps point to Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ives and perhaps, in their own distaff ways, Harry Partch and Steve Reich. In jazz, their number is fewer still--Duke Ellington and George ...

Connor Sings — Kenton Swings

Label: Sounds of Yesteryear
Released: 2019
Track listing: Theme: Artistry in Rhythm; Jeepers Creepers; Everything Happens to Me (short version); There Will Never Be Another You; You’re Mine You; I Only Have Eyes for You; September in the Rain; Lullaby in Rhythm; All About Ronnie; Love Me or Leave Me; If I Should Lose You; Tenderly; I’ll Remember April; Taking a Chance on Love; Everything Happens to Me (long version); I Get a Kick Out of You; Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me; Stan Speaks About Chris; Darn That Dream; Artistry in Rhythm.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Allegra Levy: Looking at the Moon

Read "Looking at the Moon" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

L'hanno già fatto Frank Sinatra e Mel Tormè ma non è vietato riprovarci, deve aver pensato Allegra Levy. Giunta al terzo disco, la giovane cantante statunitense esplora un repertorio di canzoni che si riferiscono alla luna, nel titolo e/o nel testo. Sono trascorsi più di cinquant'anni da Moonlingt Sinatra e Swingin' On The Moon (quest'ultimo ne ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Judy Niemack: New York Stories

Read "New York Stories" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Non è tra le cantanti più celebri del jazz moderno, ma è certamente tra le più brave. A differenza di quanto accade oggi nel mondo delle vocalist, Judy Niemack non fa surfing da uno stile all'altro ma continua a esaltare la tradizione vocale nata dal bop e dal cool jazz. E lo fa in maniera splendida, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Chris Connor with Stan Kenton And His Orchestra: Connor Sings — Kenton Swings

Read "Connor Sings — Kenton Swings" reviewed by Jack Bowers

However listeners may receive this “new" album from Sounds of Yesteryear, there's no gainsaying its title, Connor Sings—Kenton Swings, as that secures its contents in a neat little box with no loose ends in sight. There's also no denying that these seventeen songs by vocalist Chris Connor and the dynamic Stan Kenton Orchestra were recorded more ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Stan Kenton and West Coast Jazz (1950 - 1958)

Read "Stan Kenton and West Coast Jazz (1950 - 1958)" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the last hour, we heard evidence of Woody Herman's capacity for talent development in the form of further work by reed players Stan Getz, Serge Chaloff, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Jimmy Giuffre. In this hour we turn the spotlight on alumni of the Stan Kenton Orchestra which produced several significant players in the West ...


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