Thursday, 14 May 2009

CHRIS CONNOR - CHRIS IN PERSON (ATLANTIC 1959) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Chris Connor is a jazz singer known for her distinctive style and expression. She was born Mary Loutsenhizer, the daughter of father Clyde, a telegrapher who also played the violin, and Mabel, a homemaker. Connor studied and became proficient on the clarinet, having studied for 8 years throughout junior high and high school. Her mother died in 1940 when she was just 13 years old. She first sang publicly in 1945, at the Jefferson City Junior College's graduation. She performed the song Amor and it was well-received. After that debut she decided she wanted to pursue a singing career. Initially, she stayed in Kansas City, working weekdays as a stenographer and singing on the weekends. Her first professional job was with the University of Columbus college band playing various functions in the Jefferson City area. She moved between local bands from 1946-1947 and then decided to make a big move.
In 1948, she trekked off to New York City to make it big. Unable to find a singing job and nearly broke, she took a stenographic job for a local office, and spent the next 7 weeks trying to secure a singing job. She met a band manager who knew bandleader Claude Thornhill's road manager, Joe Green. Fortunatley for Chris, he was looking for a new singer to round out his vocal group, the Snowflakes. She successfully auditioned for Thornhill and joined his group, touring around the United States and recording harmonies in the studio. Of her time spent with the Snowflakes, there is only evidence of her vocals on two recorded songs: "There's A Small Hotel" and "I Don't Know Why," both performed in 1949.
She continued to tour with the Thornhill band sporadically until March 1952, when she joined Jerry Wald's big band and recorded five songs: "You're The Cream In My Coffee," "Cherokee," "Pennies From Heaven" "Raisins And Almonds" and "Terremoto." She also reunited with Claude Thornhill in October 1952 for a radio broadcast from the Statler Hotel in New York City. She sang four songs: "Wish You Were Here," Come Rain Or Come Shine," "Sorta Kinda" and "Who Are We To Say."
After leaving the Kenton band due to exhaustion, she decided to move back to New York in the fall of 1953. Soon after, she hired Monte Kay to manage her solo career. He found work for her at the famed club Birdland. One night after a show, the owner of Bethlehem Records, Gus Wildi, offered her a recording contract. She signed with the label in 1953, and in 1954 released dual long play LPs, Chris Connor sings Lullabys Of Birdland and Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers. She recorded for Bethlehem Records originally and then began a long association with Atlantic Records. Her trademark songs are well known to most people familiar with jazz of the 1950s and 1960s.In late 1956, Ms. Connor hit the popular-music charts with the title cut from her album “I Miss You So.”


Gerard said...

Lots of great stuff here.Thanks!

Pete said...

Another great post, thanks for all this wonderful music, more female Jazz singers please! cheers Pete.