Primary Instrument: Vocalist
JEANNE O'CONNOR is a jazz vocalist who has delved deep into the heart of the Great American Songbook with swing, subtlety, and deep musicality. She has also brought her clear, expressive alto voice to Brazilian music, pop, and R and B. She has performed as a soloist with jazz combos and big bands throughout the New York City region and beyond. A versatile vocalist, she is also a member of the celebrated String of Pearls female vocal trio, and the soulful and swinging Lanham and O'Connor vocal duo.
Jeanne has brought her singing to clubs, cabarets, concert halls, and music festivals. She has appeared at New York's Blue Note, Elaine's, Sweet Rhythm, the Rainbow Room, the Cat Club, Condon's and many other jazz clubs. She starred in the Irving Berlin tribute at Michael's Pub. She created Jeanne O'Connor Sings Gershwin as part of the Rockefeller Center City Celebration. Jeanne was recently a featured vocalist on opening night of Midsummer Night's Swing at Lincoln Center, sharing the stage with Nicholas Payton. She also recently did a six-week run at the Guggenheim Museum as part of its Worldbeat Jazz series, and appeared as a soloist at the festivities surrounding the World Economic Forum in New York City. In the Capital Region, Jeanne has appeared at the legendary Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, Justin’s jazz club in Albany, Upbeat on the Roof at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, and Saratoga’s Circus Café.
Jeanne sings with some of the country's leading swing and jazz bands, including frequent appearances with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. She also sings with Barry Bryson's Swing Street, the Widespread Depression Jazz Orchestra, the Hot Club of France, and Peter Duchin Orchestras. She also works doing backup vocals, studio work, and private functions.
Jeanne has recently released her first solo CD, “Something’s Coming,” on the Perldisc label. It features inventive arrangements by Gil Goldstein, Lee Muiker, and her late husband, the brilliant Don Grolnick, as well as playing by Lee Musiker, Jay Leonhart, Todd Coolman, and other stellar New York-based jazz artists.
With the String of Pearls vocal trio, Jeanne has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. The trio has made appearances in Munich nightclubs, summer festivals in France, and nightclubs and concert halls throughout Japan. The “Pearls” recently performed for an audience of several thousand at the Frick Museum concert series in Pittsburgh, PA. In its New York home region, the group has appeared in the JVC Jazz Festival, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, The Manhattan Center, and the Battleship Intrepid. The Pearls have recently been on the bill at Sweet Rhythm, Shanghai Jazz, Trumpets, and the Blue Note. String of Pearls has often taken part in the well-known “Lyrics and Lyricists” program at the 92nd Street Y, the annual Jazz Nativity, the New York Cabaret Convention, and the Millbrook and Mohonk Jazz Festivals. Jeanne studied piano and sang in pop and folk bands as a youth, but went on to study liberal arts at Brown University. There, she began singing in nightclubs with jazz and swing bands. She moved her singing career to New York in the 1980s. In 1992, she married the brilliant pianist, composer, and producer Don Grolnick. Don succumbed to lymphatic cancer in 1996, a loss that resounded throughout the music world. Jeanne has since remarried, to physicist David Atkatz, who teaches at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. In 2003 Jeanne gave birth to their beautiful son, Daniel Atkatz. Jeanne divides her time between New York, Saratoga, and wherever her music takes her.
“The other timeless standards from legendary composers such as Richard Rogers, Victor Young, Frank Loesser and Jerome Kern are superbly delivered, with the musical professionalism and grace they deserve... despite her extensive and sophisticated jazz background, her treatment of other simpler musical styles, both in person or on CD, tends to be very natural and personally connected, rather than pandering for casual audience acceptance.” - Albanyjazz.com
Jeanne O'Connor knows all the songs, sings them beautifully - and she really swings. - Michael Bourne, WBGO-FM DJ and host of Singers Unlimited
“Jeanne can belt out the innuendoes in Helen Humes's song ‘Million Dollar Secret’ or the shouting joy in Louis Jordan's ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ and can also sustain a ballad such as Star Dust, without losing the sense or mood of the song. - New York Times
Fabulous. - 7 Days Magazine
Something's Coming, Perdisc, 2007
1. Something's Coming
2. On the Street Where you Live
3. Back on the Corner
4. Chelsea Morning
5. I Cover the Waterfront
6. Del Sasser
7. What Can a Miracle Do
8. Douce Ambiance
9. I'll Know
10. The Gentleman is a Dope
11. Beautiful Love
12. All the Things You Are
13. Something So Right
With: Jeanne O'Connor, vocals; Gil Goldstein, piano and accordion; Lee Musiker, piano; Todd Coolman, Chip Jackson, and Jay Leonhart, acoustic bass; Matt Munisteri, guitar; Dave Ratajczak, drums; arrangements by Lee Musiker, Gil Goldstein, and the late Don Grolnick.
As a co-leader:
String of Pearls vocal trio, "Gems"
1. It's Sand, Man
2. Forty-Second Street
3. Girl Talk
4. Professor Bop
5. It Don't Mean a Thing
6. One-Note Samba
7. Nice Work if You Can Get it
8. Straighten Up & Fly Right
9. I Hear Music
10. A String of Pearls
11. Crazy People
12. Smack Dab in the Middle
13. Teach Me Tonight
14. South American Way
16. Glow Worm
17. Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia
With: Jeanne O'Connor, Sue Halloran, and Holli Ross, vocals; Tony Regusis, piano; Bill Moring, bass; Darryl Pellegrini, drums; Randy Sandke, trumpet, Ken Hitchcock, saxophone
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