One year ago: Chris Connor
Chris Connor was a smoky-voiced singer who helped pioneer jazz trio singing. She died one year ago after a more than 50-year career singing with small jazz groups.
Connor began her career in 1949, singing with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra's Snowflakes. She later recorded with Herbie Fields and sang with Jerry Wald's big band before joining the Stan Kenton Orchestra in early 1953.
She gained renown for her recording of "All About Ronnie" and other singles with Kenton before going solo in 1953 and having success with songs such as "Trust in Me" and "About the Blues."
Connor, who never received formal voice lessons, was known for her warm, cello-like tones that used little or no vibrato.
"What you begin to hear with Chris are breathy vocals and a slick-chick delivery that was both sexy and savvy," said jazz historian and journalist Marc Myers. "You never got the feeling with Chris that she was a helpless female, but you never got the feeling that she was bossy, either. And, as a result, almost everyone who heard her fell in love with her."
For more on the classic jazz vocalist, read Chris Connor's L.A. Times obituary.
Photo: Chris Connor. Credit: Los Angeles Times