First, like the new badge? I made it with Retype, like I’ve used for every other badge. I’m thinking I might need to make it smaller. But that’s for later.
Back when Dad was still alive, his brother Ed upgraded his stereo equipment and we got his old one. Either Ed forgot it or it was in our record collection at home (which would make no sense, since we didn’t have a record player), but I remember June Christy’s album Something Cool appeared around the same time. I’m pretty sure it was the 1960 stereo release, to demonstrate the wonders of stereophonic sound. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember when stereos were a relatively recent phenomenon.) It was on Capitol Records, the same label as The Beatles, so I gave it a listen one day. Not quite what I expected, but she sounded good to my nine-year-old ears. When I was much older, I learned that she was one of the voices of “cool jazz,” with its relaxed tempos and lighter tone that came from the West Coast after World War II.
Born Shirley Luster in Springfield, Illinois, June started with the Bill Oetzel Orchestra when she was 13, and replaced Anita O’Day as the vocalist for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Richard Cook, in an article for The New Statesman, called her “one of the finest and most neglected singers of her time.”
June sang on “Tampico,” which was Stan Kenton’s biggest hit. From 1945…
June’s first solo album was the aforementioned Something Cool, backed by Pete Rugolo’s orchestra. It was originally released as a 10″ EP in 1954 and was re-recorded as a full album the following year. They had the foresight to record the album in stereo, and it was released as a stereo LP in 1960. The title track from the album, from 1960…
June semi-retired in 1969 to cope with alcoholism. She sang at the 1972 Newport Jazz Festival in a reunion with Kenton, then performed at festivals with a band composed of West Coast musicians. Her last album, Impromptu, was released in 1977, and her last performance was with Chet Baker in 1988.
June Christy, your Two for Tuesday, September 20, 2016.