Without exception, no other singer of non-ethnic material but Chris Connor has the fire and imagination to create a mood of pathos with such intensity. According to prominent composer Gunther Schuller, "Chris, at her best, is one of the most unique (and under-rated) singers, and I am especially fascinated...by the emotional intensity with which she delivers a song." On this long out-of-print Atlantic album, Ms. Connor is backed by an all-star band including Oliver Nelson, Phil Woods, Joe Newman, Clark Terry and George Duvivier.
Originally released on Atlantic (8061).
Personnel: Chris Connor (vocals); Chris Connor ; Irwin "Marky" Markowitz, Joe Newman Quartet , Irvin Markowitz (trumpet); George Duvivier, Ben Tucker (double bass); Phil Woods (clarinet, alto saxophone); Oliver Nelson (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Sol Schlinger (bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn); Joe Newman (trumpet); Ronnie Ball (piano); Dave Bailey , Ed Shaughnessy (drums).
Liner Note Author: Ran Blake.
Recording information: 12/11/1961-04/30/1962.
Arranger: Al Cohn.
Chris Connor's smoky voice made her a natural fit for torch songs, but her flair for improvisation expanded her considerable talents to include upbeat material as well. Free Spirits, an excellent small-group date arranged for her by Al Cohn, features Connor in a range of settings; remember, free spirits don't necessarily mean high spirits. The choices for material also range far and wide. A trio of Ellington evergreens anchor the set, but she also includes material from Peggy Lee, Oscar Brown, Jr., Leiber & Stoller's "Kansas City," and Billie Holiday's nearly untouchable "God Bless the Child." It helps that she gets expressive accompaniment from an all-star lineup -- alto Phil Woods, tenor Oliver Nelson, and a pair of all-time trumpeters (Clark Terry and Joe Newman). Despite the title, the only concept at work here is her ability to captivate a listening audience with a wide-ranging set. ~ John Bush