Connor in 1957
|Birth name||Mary Jean Loutsenhizer|
|Born||November 8, 1927|
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||August 29, 2009 (aged 81)|
Toms River, New Jersey, U.S.
Chris Connor was born Mary Loutsenhizer in Kansas City, Missouri, to Clyde Loutsenhizer Mabel Shirley. She became proficient on the clarinet, having studied for eight years during middle school and high school. She sang with the college band at the University of Missouri, playing at functions in Columbia, Missouri.
In 1940 Connor recorded two songs with Claude Thornhill's band: "There's a Small Hotel" and "I Don't Know Why". With Jerry Wald's big band she recorded "You're the Cream in My Coffee", "Cherokee", "Pennies from Heaven", "Raisins and Almonds", and "Terremoto". Connor and Thornhill reunited in 1952 for a radio broadcast from the Statler Hotel in New York City for which she sang "Wish You Were Here", Come Rain or Come Shine", "Sorta Kinda", and "Who Are We to Say".
Billboard reported in 1955 that Connor's first two solo albums for Bethlehem, Sings Lullabys of Birdland and Sings Lullabys for Lovers ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the jazz chart for the week ending April 23, 1955. In 1957, she ranked No. 10 in the Favorite Female Vocalist disk jockey popularity poll behind Lena Horne and June Christy.
A resident of Toms River, New Jersey, Connor died there from cancer on August 29, 2009, at the age of 81. She was survived by her longtime partner and manager, Lori Muscarelle. Ms. Connor's ashes were given her partner post cremationem.
- Sings Lullabys for Lovers (Bethlehem, 1954)
- This Is Chris (Bethlehem, 1955)
- Sings Lullabys of Birdland (Bethlehem, 1954)
- Chris (Bethlehem, 1956)
- He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (Atlantic, 1956)
- Chris Connor (Atlantic, 1956)
- I Miss You So (Atlantic, 1957)
- Chris Connor Sings the George Gershwin Almanac of Song (Atlantic, 1957)
- Chris Craft (Atlantic, 1958)
- A Jazz Date with Chris Connor (Atlantic, 1958)
- Sings Ballads of the Sad Cafe (Atlantic, 1959)
- Witchcraft (Atlantic, 1959)
- Chris in Person (Atlantic, 1959)
- A Portrait of Chris (Atlantic, 1960)
- Two's Company with Maynard Ferguson (Roulette, 1961)
- Double Exposure with Maynard Ferguson (Atlantic, 1961)
- Free Spirits (Atlantic, 1962)
- At the Village Gate: Early Show/Late Show (FM, 1963)
- A Weekend in Paris (FM, 1964)
- Sings Gentle Bossa Nova (ABC-Paramount, 1965)
- Chris Conner Now! (ABC 1966)
- Sketches (Stanyan, 1972)
- Sweet and Swinging (Progressive, 1978)
- Live (Applause, 1983)
- Three Pearls with Ernestine Anderson, Carol Sloane (Eastworld, 1984)
- Love Being Here with You (Stash, 1984)
- Classic (Contemporary, 1987)
- New Again (Contemporary, 1988)
- As Time Goes by (Enja, 1991)
- The London Connection (Audiophile, 1993)
- Chris Connor/He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (Collectables, 1999)
- Haunted Heart (HighNote, 2001)
- I Walk with Music (HighNote, 2002)
- Everything I Love (HighNote, 2003)
- "Jazz singer Chris Connor dead". CBC News. Associated Press. September 5, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- Profile, MusicianGuide.com; accessed March 5, 2017.
- "Chris Connor". Concord.com. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- "Chris Connor Bio-Discography - The Big Band Singer Period". Jazzdiscography.com. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- "Chris Connor Bio-Discography – The Post-Atlantic Period". Jazzdiscography.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- Jazz Best Sellers. Nielsen Business Media. 23 April 1955. p. 18. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- Grevatt, Ren (25 November 1957). On the Beat. Nielsen Business Media. p. 34. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- Notice of Connor's death, Theatermania.com; accessed March 5, 2017.
- Holden, Stephen. "Chris Connor, Jazz Singer Whose Voice Embodied a Wistful Cool, Dies at 81", The New York Times, September 1, 2009. Accessed September 17, 2019. "Chris Connor, the great jazz singer whose lush, foggy voice and compressed emotional intensity distilled a 1950s jazz reverie of faraway longing in a sad cafe, died on Saturday in Toms River, N.J. She was 81 and lived in Toms River. [...] Ms. Connor is survived by her longtime partner and manager, Lori Muscarelle."