Literature » Poetry

A poetic appreciation of Chris Connor — by Lawrence J. Klumas


Chris Connor, Jazz Vocalist:

An Appreciation


Take One


“Who,” you ask.
“Chris Connor,” I repeat.
“Oh, sure, right,” you say
            (with little enthusiasm.)
“You have to listen, really listen,” I say.
“O.K.” (an acquiescence).
I carefully place the vinyl record
            on the Rek-O-Kut turntable.
I get into her husky voice,
Her unique phrasing — my special addiction.
Her presentations’ style just for me,
I forget you (unfortunately)
            during this transfixion.
You say not a word.
From Moonlight in Vermont,
To Be My All – Breathtaking.
I am immersed.
Chris finishes, 
I say, into the quiet,
“See, perfect!” turning my attention
            back to you.
It seemed too silent.
It was.
You were not there.



Take Two


From the platter – listening.

I cannot see her
I cannot see her face
I cannot see her mouth
I hear her
I hear her voice
I hear her timbre.

I hear her clear crisp
            acoustically acrobatic
            olympic quality
precision of wording;
Chris can choose
            any inflection of tone,
            between this note
            and the next
At her discretion —
Creating the songs’
            perfect grace and rhythm —

As the confident gymnast
           launches flawless into the air
           knowing at each critical juncture,
           the right, the perfect movement
To execute her triple twist.

Just too Chris performs.




Take Three


In between searching for songs,
In between practicing lyrical alternatives,
In between agent phone calls,
In between recording sessions,
In between cocktail lounge bookings —
What do you do?
Where do you go?
Who do you see?
What do you like?
Is there another life?



Take Four


I do not hear a standard
A&R arrangement
A mimic of a past jazz recording
A faint repetition.

I hear only the new quest
            as her singular voice
Searching for her interpretation
            of sound and sensation,
Till it Is achieved. 
Practiced, till, it is
Subtle, till it is perfect —
Then again, and again,
            reviewed in her mind
Till it is right,
Till it is absolutely just
As she feels it inside,
Then pressed on the recorded track.

I shall never tire to hear
            it over and over
till the track is
           worn out.






Lawrence J. Klumas has written poetry since 1958, and continued writing for his engineering profession — but, most recently re-immersed himself into poetry with a passion.  He has been published in Que sais-je, on-line at JerryJazzMusician, Diocesan Messenger. He contributes a poem weekly to the Fallbrook, CA Episcopal Church newsletter. He has a chapbook submitted for San Diego Book Awards.

He is a retired USAF officer, an engineer, a Viet Nam veteran, and a past Assoc VP Occidental College (Facilities).  He has a BS In Business Administration (with a minor in Literature) from Eastern Nazarene College, and both a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University.