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A customer of mine once described the Boswell Sisters as "kind of like th Andrews Sisters - only hipper". In fact, New Orleans' own Boswell Sisters predated and really invented the style of harmony that made the Andrews Sisters popular.
Connee Boswell is probably the greatest female jazz singer that New Orleans has ever produced. An interesting fact: most of Connee's fans (even to this day) never realized that she was confined to a wheelchair for her entire life (she contracted polio as an infant). An amazing woman with an amazing talent.
Ms Boswell has signed and dated this classic headshot in black ink, “To Loretta, Good luck, Connee Boswell, 1943.”
The photo measures 8x10 and is in fair to poor condition, showing a mamor crease just below the chin, tack holes at the corners and center edges and general wear and discoloration from age.
The following is a brief biography from the All Music Guide:
One of the finest jazz singers of the 1930's, Connee Boswell (who was always cited by Ella Fitzgerald as her main early influence) originally rose to fame as a member of the Boswell Sisters, one of the premiere jazz vocal groups. Connee contracted polio as an infant and always used a wheelchair although her disability was usually well covered up on stage. Early on she played cello, piano, alto sax and trombone but unfortunately never recorded on any instruments. The three Boswell Sisters (with Martha on piano and Vet on violin) did have an opportunity to perform with the New Orleans Philharmonic but soon they gave up playing their instruments (except for Martha on piano) and chose to work on developing as a vocal group. Although they recorded both "Nights When I'm Lonely" and Connee's solo number "I'm Gonna Cry" in 1925, the Boswells did not begin catching on (and recording regularly) until late-1930. During 1931-36 the Boswell Sisters became quite popular on radio and in concert, making occasional appearances in films (most notably 1932's The Big Broadcast). During the same period, Connee Boswell (who worked out most of the Boswell's surprising arrangements) occasionally recorded solo sides of her own. When Vet and Martha got married and decided to retire from singing in 1936, Connee (who also was married during the same period) officially launched her own solo career. Although she never broke through to become a major star, Connee Boswell was fairly well-known and worked steadily into the 1950's, appearing in some films (including "Kiss The Boys Goodbye" and "Syncopation") and on the short-lived television show Pete Kelly's Blues. Most notable of her recordings was a 1937 session with Bob Crosby's Bob Cats that resulted in inventive and hard-swinging versions of "Martha" and "Home On The Range." Connee Boswell also recorded a notable (but long-out-of-print) 1956 jazz album with Billy Butterfield, Miff Mole and Jimmy Lytell, who came together as the Original Memphis Five.
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