Chris Connor’s most distinctive qualities are her daredevil sense of time and her signature sound. She swings at all tempos, phrasing so far ahead or behind the beat that you fear she’ll never reclaim it, but somehow she always does. The complex timbre of her voice is difficult to describe-misty yet strong, slightly strained but mellow. Her approach to lyrics is similarly ineffable. She never indulges in overt emoting, but imbues rueful ballads with a bruised, introspective quality. She shares with her ’50s movie counterpart Kim Novak a stolid but vulnerable sensibility, implying that she knows much more about pain than she’s willing to articulate.
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