Jazz Great Chris Connor Dies

Chris Connor, one of the great jazz singers who helped develop the “cool jazz” sound, died of cancer at a hospital in Toms River, N.J., Aug. 30.

Connor, 81, known for fronting big bands like Claude Thornhill’s and Stan Kenton’s, was one of the first artists signed to Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun’s Atlantic Records.

Connor, known for the hit “All About Ronnie,” was admired for the lack of vibrato in her smoky singing voice.

Her career took a downturn in the early ’60s from a disastrous combination of events: leaving Atlantic for a small record label that went bankrupt within a year; the advent of rock ‘n’ roll; her refusal to follow contemporaries like Rosemary Clooney into pop music; and the easy access to liquor at her performance venues.

Connor cleaned up and made a comeback in the ’70s, developed a new fan base in Japan and performed up until a 2004 show in New York alongside musical inspiration Anita O’Day.