Jazz Singer Chris Connor made a name in Stan Kenton’s big band, garnering comparisons to Anita O’Day and June Christy. Connor wasn't as well-known as they were, but Connor was a better singer. She had a long career with only a few mishaps. In the 60's, pop music dominated the charts. Record producer Kenny Greengrass convinced Connor to make a pop album. The outcome was Chris Connor Sings Gentle Bossa Nova, which Just A Memory is reissuing September 13th. She owned a voice that was pure as spring water, but Sings Gentle Bossa Nova wasn’t her best output. Her voice was made for jazz. With this pop oriented offering, Connor strayed too far away from her natural habitat.
A few years ago, Mack Avenue Records snapped up jazz bass player Christian McBride. His debut album was Kind of Brown, and McBride unveiled his new band Inside Straight. It was my least favorite Christian McBride album. But, McBride’s second album for Mack Avenue The Good Feeling, due out on September 27th, is McBride’s first masterpiece. On The Good Feeling, McBride shows off his big band, and he has some bigwigs on the payroll Ron Blake, Nicholas Payton, Steve Wilson and Xavier Davis. Davis is my pick for the album's MVP. McBride did a fine job making sure The Good Feeling swings from head to toe.
Resonance Record will release jazz trumpet player Claudio Roditi’s new album Bons Amigo on September 13th. Roditi is a senior citizen., and he’s still making some of the best Brazilian jazz music around. I can come up with a million reasons why Bons Amigo is a bulletproof investment, but I will only supply one. Roditi is a divine lyrical trumpeter with a tone soft as snowflakes.