Ran Blake: The Music of Chris Connor
Press Release from the New England Conservatory on Ran’s Intensive Summer Course
August 8-16, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Special public evening: Tuesday, August 14, 6:30 p.m.
Chris Connor is arguably the most unique “white stylist” in jazz singing. With her husky timbre and long expressive phrases, Chris Connor remains one of jazz’s most nontraditional musicians. Connor started singing with a big band led by trombonist Bob Brookmeyer before leaving her native Kansas City for New York in 1947. After a stint with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra, Connor was hired by Stan Kenton at June Christy’s recommendation.
Connor began her solo career in 1953, recording three albums for Bethlehem before moving to Atlantic in 1955, reaching the height of her popularity. Highlights include The Thrill is Gone, Something to Live For, The Lady Sings the Blues, Roundabout, You Stepped Out of a Dream, High On a Windy Hill, and Lonely Woman — the first recorded version of the Ornette Coleman classic.
We will explore Connor’s musical personality by listening to selected recordings spanning her career and by hearing personal anecdotes, rather than by analyzing specific musical selections. In tracing Connor’s progress from her roots with Bethlehem to her Atlantic years with Ronnie Ball to her commercial success in the ’70s with Rod McKuen to her comeback in the ’80s and ’90s, we will gain an appreciation of the full range of this extraordinary vocal stylist.
You can receive one college credit for taking this short, intensive course.
You can download the enrollment form here. For more information, use this link or contact Ran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, here is an mp3 of one of Ran’s favorite tracks, Get Out of Town. You can listen to a number of her other songs on her website.