Listen carefully to “Li’l Darlin'” both by the Count Basie Orchestra, and by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross with Joe Williams. The first thing that struck me when I heard these two versions of the song, is that you almost have to listen twice to tell which is the instrumental and which is the vocal. That’s how precise LH&R’s style and phrasing was! Here they are side-by-side. What do you think?
Chris Connor didn’t just sing a song, she owned it! Born in Kansas City to a musical family, she was originally trained on the clarinet but made her first on stage appearance as a singer … and a singer she remained forever more. Her easy going manner and distinctive ability to get ‘inside’ a lyric became her trademark. Although she performed with big name big bands, including the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Chris preferred smaller groups and established her lasting reputation touring internationally as a solo performer leading her own trio. She was one of only a handful of white vocalists considered to be, incontestably, pure jazz singers.
To celebrate the arrival of summer, here are not one but two unique treatments of the Gershwin classic. Summertime was originally an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin. Through the years, the song has became a truly solid jazz standard.