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

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 22 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Chris Potter, Sons of Kemet, Stephan Crump, Brittany Anjou, Julian Lage, Joey DeFrancesco and Antonio Sanchez

Poetry

Seventeen poets contribute 21 poems in this month’s edition…

The Joys of Jazz

In new podcasts, Bob Hecht tells three stories; one about Miles Davis’ use of space in his music, one on the mutual admiration society of Sinatra, Lady Day, and Lester Young, and the other about the train in jazz and blues music.

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art

Art

“Thinking about Ida B. Wells” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #126

In 1964, along with the orchestra of arranger Lalo Schifrin (pictured), this flutist/alto sax player recorded one of the first “Jazz Masses,” and soon after studied transcendental meditation in India. He would eventually become well known as a composer of music for meditation. Who is he?

Great Encounters

Dexter Gordon tells the story of joining Louis Armstrong’s band in 1944, and how they enjoyed their intermission time.

Art

In this edition of Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light,” photographs of Red Garland, Dizzy Gillespie and Rahsaan Roland Kirk are featured.

Short Fiction

"Strings of Solace," a short story by Kimberly Parish Davis

Interviews

Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

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

Short Fiction

"And so we went to Paris," a short story by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Coming Soon

National Book Award winning author for non-fiction Jeffrey Stewart is interviewed about his book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke...Legendary producer, Blue Note Records discographer, and Mosaic Records co-founder Michael Cuscuna talks about his life in jazz.

In the previous issue

The question “What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?” was posed via email to a small number of prominent and diverse people, and the responses of Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who participated...Also, the publication of the winning story in our 50th Short Fiction contest; an interview with Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell; a collection of jazz poetry; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; the March edition of "On the Turntable," and lots more...Click here to be taken to the issue.

Contributing writers

Site Archive