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Friday, June 22, 2018

I Miss You So - Chris Connor

Speak Low

Chris Connor
I Miss You So
Arrangements by Ray Ellis
Supervision: Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler
Cover Photo: Saul Leiter
Cover Design: Marvin Israel
Atlantic 8014

From the back cover: One of the marks of a true jazz vocal stylist is the ability to use the voice as an instrument. A loving care for intonation, phrasing, dynamics and expression and a complete at-homeness with an instrument, whether a saxophone, clarinet, trumpet or voice is a special part of the jazz artist's makeup. For a singer, instrumental training is invaluable. Chris Connor had the benefit of practice on the clarinet and the violin through her high school years. Only then did she take a serious view of her singing. But not until she was well out of high school and holding down a stenographer's job in Jefferson City, Missouri, did Chris get her first chance to make money as a vocalist. This was with a college dance band at the University of Missouri. Even in this earliest engagement, Chris was not the typical pop singer. She had the flavor of jazz in her voice even then and later when a 19-year-old trombonist, Bobby Brookmeyer, asked her to come back to Kansas City to sing with his band, her modern approach was even more evident.

Chris was already shaping her voice in the Anita O'Day – June Christy tradition. She has high praise for both these artists as she does for Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and from this quarter came the composite influence that was to develop and establish the Chris Connor style.

With the Missouri University dance band, Chris has much experience singing in front of Stan Kenton, arrangements. Then after "taking the plunge" and heading for New York in 1949, she won an audition to sing with Claude Thornhill's band, which gave her three and a half years of singing with a band with a definitely forward look about it.

The Kenton influence became complete, when Chris actually joined the band in 1952. At this point her reputation suddenly expanded from the limited Kansas City and New York metropolitan areas straight across the country. It was not as easy matter to crack through the tough harmonic and rhythm constructions of the Kenton book. June Christy had already set up a vocal formula for the band that was not easy to follow. But Chris Connor's innate artistry overcame the obvious obstacles and she re-created the basic approach in terms of her own interpretation to the vast satisfaction of not only Kenton, but many new followers as well.

Out of the Kenton collaboration came a touching and offbeat record call All About Ronnie, which had a success completely unexpected by the record mean who brought it out.

In July 1953, following years of back-breaking, sleep-destroying one nighters with the Thornhill and Kenton bands, Chris quit the band business for good, a move that not only gave her a rest, but provided the opportunity to become solidly entrenched as a top single act and recording star as well. She has played the hallowed jazz spots like Birdland in New York and Storyville in Boston as well as a number of the better pop-type clubs. Chris' early LP records proved some of the biggest jazz sellers. And her first three Atlantic LPs, Chris Connor," "He Loves Me, He Love Me Not," and especially "Chris Connor Sings The George Gershwin Almanac Of Song," have merely served to build a bigger than ever following for the husky voice Kansas City blonde.

I Miss You
Go Away From My Window
Trust In Me
Past The Age Of Innocence
Time Out For Tears
I Love You Yes I Do
My Heart Is So Full Of You
My Ideal
Mixed Emotions
They All Laughed
Speak Low
Radar Blues

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