Christmas songs #7: Connee Boswell, White Christmas

December 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm (Christmas, jazz, Jim D, song)

The best-known Christmas song of all, performed here not by Der Bingle but by the (these days) nearly forgotten Connee (aka Connie) Boswell, a middle-class white gal (1907-1976), from New Orleans, who was a major influence on the young Ella Fitzgerald. Connee’s best jazz was recorded in the early-to-mid thirties with her sisters Martha and Vet (both of whom left the music business, leaving Connee to soldier on as a soloist), but this, recorded in 1958, is pretty good and shows she still had a powerful, jazz and blues- drenched voice, even on a commercial session at the very end of her career:

Click on that link (above: “best jazz”) to the Boswell Sisters’ highly-sophisticated yet bluesy version of ‘There’ll Be Some Changes Made’ and as well as hearing some fabulous, ‘modern’ close-harmony singing, you’ll see a secret that the carefully-posed official publicity photos of the time (as with FDR) kept hidden: Connee was wheelchair-bound.

P.S: A fascinating  recent interview with Vet Boswell’s grandaughter over at Michael Steinman’s great ‘Jazz Lives’ blog, here and a new blog devoted to ‘the Bozzies’ that you should visit.

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