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

May 15th, 2018

 

 

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.

 

_____

 

 

 

 

Share this:

2 comments on “A poetic appreciation of Chris Connor — by Lawrence J. Klumas”

  1. A first-rate sequence of poems. It is not only good poetry. It inspired me to look up the singer online and to find several of her songs on YouTube. You have introduced me to a fine singer with whom I was previously unfamiliar. I thank you for the skillful poetry and for the introduction to an artist of merit.

    1. Thanks Michael. Feedback is so critical to improving what you write, I appreciate you giving me some encouraging comments.

      Chris Connor was a Stan Kenton vocalist for about a year following June Christy who followed Anita O’ Day. Hope you come to appreciate her unique voice and styling

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings by six artists -- Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano. Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian, and Aaron Burnett

Short Fiction

"Crossing the Ribbon" by Linnea Kellar is the winning story of the 51st Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Poetry

Seventeen poets contribute to the Summer, 2019 collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer John Snyder about the experience of working with Ornette Coleman at the time of his 1977 album Dancing in Your Head

Art

“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Poetry

Poetry by John Stupp and Michael L. Newell

Art

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Art Pepper, Pat Martino and Joe Williams.

Interviews

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

In the previous issue

Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...

Coming Soon

An interview with Nate Chinen, director of editorial content at WBGO Radio, former New York Times jazz writer, and the author of Playing Changes: Jazz in the New Century.

Contributing writers

Site Archive