Chris Connor (vcl), Ray Ellis, Herbie Mann, Richard Wess, Stan Applebaum (dir, arr)
Reference: BMCD 883
Bar code: 8427328008839
· Collector's Edition
· Issued in Digipack
· 24 Single Tracks
· Comprehensive Liner Notes
· High Fidelity Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
Chris Connor (1927-2009) developed her jazz style while singing with Stan Kenton in 1953. The way she put it, “Singing with Kenton was the most exciting thing that happened to me. And, believe me, it trained my ear.” After leaving Kenton, she began building her reputation as a single working intimate, jazz-clubs on the Eastern circuit. But she had never thought herself a jazz singer and made this clear when she first began singing for Bethlehem later that year: “I don’t know why I began singing jazz, instead of commercial things. But I always sang off the melody when I was a kid, so I guess that’s it. I don’t really want to stick to only one kind of singing. The only reason I’m in this business is because I like to sing. I’m not happy doing anything else.”
Her fleeting doubts gradually disappeared as she became more secure in her own rhythmic conception, and after signing for Atlantic in 1956, she became one of the label’s best sellers, selling 500,000 LPs during her five-year tenure, and thousands of jazz and pop singles; all of the latter are included here. Her near-vibratoless singing style and distinctive charm, as warm on ballads as it is coolly relaxed on uptempos, and her innate jazz phrasing —emerging at unguarded moments— triumph over more commercial approach of some of the tunes.
"Making her name first with Stan Kenton in 1953, Chris Connor (1927-2009) eventually personified the “vo-cool” genre of singing. This collection of her Atlantic singles in a variety of settings demonstrated how she could put her own signature on virtually any style, and make it work.
A series of singles under the baton of Ray Ellis include haunting pieces such as “Go ‘Way From My Window” and “I Miss You So.” On the other side of the spectrum, she delivers some fun swing on “Circus” and gospel R&B on “Hallelujah, I Love Him So.” Most intriguing of all is a one-off with Herbie Mann and his Afro-Cuban Band that has Connor deliver a stunning “Senor Blues” as well as a richly textured “Misty.” She sounds intimate on trio reeds on “’S’Wonderful” and “Love Walked In” and has a blast on “Fortune Cookies” with Stan Applebaum’s orchestra. The booklet in the liner notes give much interesting background to this era of Connor’s career, one that should not be ignored."
George W. Harris (March 30, 2017)