|Birth name||Shirley Luster|
|Also known as||Sharon Leslie|
|Born||November 20, 1925|
Springfield, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||June 21, 1990 (aged 64)|
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
|Genres||Pop, jazz, cool jazz|
June Christy (born Shirley Luster; November 20, 1925 – June 21, 1990) was an American singer, known for her work in the cool jazz genre and for her silky smooth vocals. Her success as a singer began with The Stan Kenton Orchestra. She pursued a solo career from 1954 and is best known for her debut album Something Cool. After her death, she was hailed as "one of the finest and most neglected singers of her time."
Shirley Luster was born in Springfield, Illinois, United States. She moved with her parents Steve and Marie (née Crain) Luster to Decatur, Illinois, when she was three years old. She began to sing with the Decatur-based Bill Oetzel Orchestra at thirteen. While attending Decatur High School she appeared with Oetzel and his society band, the Ben Bradley Band, and Bill Madden's Band. After high school she moved to Chicago, changed her name to Sharon Leslie, and sang with a group led by Boyd Raeburn. Later she joined Benny Strong's band. In 1944, Strong's band moved to New York City at the same time Christy was quarantined in Chicago with scarlet fever.
Work with Stan Kenton's Orchestra
In 1945, after hearing that Anita O'Day had left Stan Kenton's Orchestra, she auditioned and was chosen for the role as a vocalist. During this time, she changed her name once again, becoming June Christy.
Her voice produced hits such as "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy", the million-selling "Tampico" in 1945, and "How High the Moon". "Tampico" was Kenton's biggest-selling record. When the Kenton orchestra temporarily disbanded in 1948, she sang in nightclubs for a short time, and reunited with the band two years later. Christy appeared as guest vocalist on the Kenton albums: Artistry in Rhythm (Capitol BD-39, 1946 ), A Presentation of Progressive Jazz (Capitol CD-79, 1947 , Encores (Capitol CC-113, 1945–47 ), Innovations in Modern Music (Capitol P-189, 1950), Stan Kenton Presents (Capitol L/P-248, 1950), Stan Kenton Classics (Capitol H/T-358, 1944–47 ), and The Kenton Era (Capitol WDX-569, 1940–54, ).
Beginning on September 28, 1959, Christy began a five-week road tour of 38 performances called Road Show. The all-star billing: Stan Kenton and his Orchestra, June Christy, and The Four Freshmen. Capitol recorded highlights on October 10 at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, for a two-disc LP, reissued on CD in 1988.
From 1947, she started to work on her own records, primarily with arranger and bandleader Pete Rugolo. In 1954, she released a 10" LP entitled Something Cool, recorded with Rugolo and his orchestra, a gathering of notable Los Angeles jazz musicians that included her husband, multi-instrumentalist Bob Cooper and alto saxophonist Bud Shank. Something Cool was re-released as a 12" LP in 1955 with additional selections, and then entirely rerecorded in stereo in 1960 with a somewhat different personnel. Christy would later say the album was "the only thing I've recorded that I'm not unhappy with". Something Cool was also important in launching the vocal cool movement of the 1950s, and it hit the Top 20 Charts, as did her third album, The Misty Miss Christy.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Christy appeared on a number of television programs, including the short-lived CBS show Adventures in Jazz (1949), Eddie Condon's Floor Show (1949), The Jackie Gleason Show (1953), The Tonight Show (1955), The Nat King Cole Show (1957), Stars of Jazz (1958), The Steve Allen Show (1959), The Lively Ones (1963), and The Joey Bishop Show (1967). She also appeared on the first sponsored jazz concert on television, The Timex All-Star Jazz Show I (December 30, 1957), which also featured Louis Armstrong, Carmen McRae, Duke Ellington and Gene Krupa.
R.M. Cook and Brian Morton, writers of The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, appreciated the singer's body of work: "Christy's wholesome but particularly sensuous voice is less an improviser's vehicle than an instrument for long, controlled lines and the shading of a fine vibrato. Her greatest moments – the heartbreaking 'Something Cool' itself, 'Midnight Sun', 'I Should Care' – are as close to creating definitive interpretations as any singer can come."
Christy was married to Bob Cooper in 1947. In 1954, she gave birth to a daughter, Shay Christy Cooper (September 1, 1954 – February 21, 2014). She also had an older brother, Jack A. Luster (1920 – 2013).
Later years and death
In 1972, she sang at the Newport Jazz Festival in New York City, where she was reunited with the Kenton Orchestra. She also performed at a handful of jazz festivals during the late 1970s and 1980s, playing with a band of all-star West Coast jazz musicians led by Shorty Rogers, as well as taking part in a number of world tours.
Christy returned to the recording studio in 1977 to record her final solo LP, Impromptu. She recorded an interview in 1987 for a Paul Cacia produced album called "The Alumni Tribute to Stan Kenton" on the Happy Hour label. A number of other Kenton alumni (Shorty Rogers, Lee Konitz, Jack Sheldon, among them) interspersed their tunes with reminiscences of the man and the years on the road.
|Released||Album||Label & Number|
|1950||Day Dream (10" 78rpm 4-disc album set)||Capitol CC-126 (?)|
|1953||Get Happy With June Christy (7" 45rpm EP)||Capitol EAP 1-148|
|1954||Something Cool -with Pete Rugolo & His Orchestra (10" LP, 7 songs)||Capitol H-516|
|1955||Duet -with Stan Kenton (12" LP)||Capitol T-656|
|1955||Something Cool -with Pete Rugolo & His Orchestra (12" LP, 11 songs)||Capitol T-516|
|1956||The Misty Miss Christy (12" LP)||Capitol T-725; reissue: Discovery DS-919, 1985|
|1957||Fair and Warmer!||Capitol T-833|
|1957||Gone for the Day||Capitol T-902; reissue: Discovery DS-911, 1985|
|1958||This Is June Christy! (compilation)||Capitol T-1006|
|1958||June's Got Rhythm||Capitol ST-1076|
|1958||The Song Is June!||Capitol ST-1114|
|1959||Recalls Those Kenton Days||Capitol ST-1202; reissue: Pausa PR-9064, 1986|
|1959||Ballads for Night People||Capitol ST-1308|
|1959||Road Show -with Stan Kenton and The Four Freshmen (2-LP set)||Capitol STBO-1327; reissues: Creative World ST-1019 (Vol. 1), ST-1020 (Vol. 2)|
|1960||The Cool School||Capitol ST-1398|
|1960||Something Cool (newly recorded "stereo" version)||Capitol SM-516|
|1961||Do-Re-Mi (A Modern Interpretation of the Hit Broadway Musical) -with Bob Cooper||Capitol ST-1586|
|1961||This Time of Year||Capitol ST-1605|
|1962||The Best of June Christy (compilation)||Capitol T-1693|
|1962||Big Band Specials||Capitol ST-1845; reissue: Pausa PR-9039, 1985|
|1963||The Intimate Miss Christy||Capitol ST-1953|
|1963||The Swinging Chicks (shared album with Fran Warren; 5 songs by each)||Camay Records CA-3042|
|1965||Something Broadway, Something Latin -with Ernie Freeman's Music||Capitol ST-2410|
|1977||Impromptu -with Lou Levy Sextet||Interplay IP-7710; reissue: Discovery DS-836, 1981|
|1986||A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening (transcriptions: 6 from Stand By For Music radio show, 1956; 8 from The Navy Swings radio show, 1966)||Jasmine JASM-2528|
|1986||The Uncollected June Christy with The Kentones (from Capitol Transcription sessions, 1946–1947)||Hindsight SR-219|
|1987||The Uncollected June Christy, Vol. II (transcriptions: 12 from U.S. Marine Corps radio show, 1956; 2 from The Bob Crosby Show radio show, 1956)||Hindsight SR-235|
|1994||June Christy and the Stan Kenton Orchestra||Collectors' Choice Music CCM-001|
|1995||Day Dreams (1947–1955)||Capitol|
|1995||Through the Years (1946/1957/1965)||Hindsight HCD-260|
|1995||Spotlight On...June Christy||Capitol|
|1997||The Best of June Christy: The Jazz Sessions||Capitol|
|1998||A Friendly Session, Vol. 1 (with the Johnny Guarnieri Quintet)||Jasmine JASCD-341|
|1999||A Friendly Session, Vol. 2 (with the Johnny Guarnieri Quintet)||Jasmine JASCD-349|
|1999||Live at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 1972 (with Stan Kenton & His Orchestra)||Jazz Band EBCD 2145-2|
|2000||The Ballad Collection||Capitol|
|2000||A Friendly Session, Vol. 3 (with the Johnny Guarnieri Quintet)||Jasmine JASCD-369|
|2002||Cool Christy (1945–1951)||Proper PVCD-112 [2-CD]|
|2012||101 Essential June Christy: Something Cool||AP Music Ltd.|
|2019||The June Christy/Stan Kenton Collection 1945–1955||Acrobat ADDCD-3290 [2-CD]|
|1949||Adventures in Jazz||Unknown|
|1949||Art Ford Show||Unknown|
|1949||Eddie Condon's Floor Show||Unknown|
|1950||The Alan Young Show||Unknown|
|1950||Jack Carter Show||Unknown|
|3/7/1953||The Jackie Gleason Show||Unknown|
|1955||The Tonight Show with Steve Allen||Unknown|
|9/3/1956||Stars of Jazz||Unknown|
|7/9/1957||Nat King Cole Show||I Want to Be Happy; How High the Moon|
|12/30/1957||Timex All Star Jazz||I Want to be Happy|
|3/3/1958||Stars of Jazz||Get Happy; That's All|
|6/2/1958||Stars of Jazz||I Want to Be Happy; That's All|
|10/1/1959||Playboy's Penthouse||How High the Moon; I Want to Be Happy; Something Cool|
|11/23/1959||The Steve Allen Plymouth Show||Midnight Sun; Medley with Steve and Mel|
|9/10/1962||The Steve Allen Playhouse||Midnight Sun; Willow Weep for Me|
|2/11/1963||One O'Clock Show||Unknown|
|8/8/1963||The Lively Ones||I'll Take Romance; Midnight Sun|
|2/24/1965||The Mike Douglas Show||Unknown|
|6/2/1965||Not Only But Also||You Came a Long Way From St. Louis; Just in Time; Remind Me; My Shining Hour|
|8/12/1965||Mike Douglas Show||Unknown|
|11/8/1967||The Joey Bishop Show||Unknown|
|2/20/1968||Woody Woodbury Show||A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening; My Shining Hour; Midnight Sun (with Stan Kenton)|
|6/30/1972||The Dick Cavett Show||A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening; Remind Me; My Shining Hour|
|1972||Words & Music by Bobby Troup (with Stan Kenton)||The Meaning of the Blues; Hey Daddy; Lonely Girl|
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 260. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
- Cook, Richard (1998-12-11). "Carrying a torch". New Statesman. Retrieved 2015-05-24.
- Sparke, Michael. Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra!
- "June Christy". Belten.freeserve.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- Holden, Stephen (June 24, 1990). "June Christy, Singer, 64, Is Dead; Gained Fame With Kenton's Band". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- June Christy at IMDb
- Terrace, Vincent. Encyclopedia of Television: Series, Pilots and Specials, 1937-1973, p. 438.
- McClellan, Lawrence. The Later Swing Era, 1942 to 1955, pp. 92–93.
- "California Birth Index, 1905-1995". FamilySearch. Retrieved 2015-05-23.
- "Solid! – June Christy". Parabrisas.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- Friedwald, Will (2010). A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers. ISBN 9780375421495. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "Obituary: Bob Cooper". The Independent. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "Los Angeles Times: Archives – Let's Hear It for High C-manship". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1988-03-26. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "June Christy Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "June Christy". Find a Grave. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Scott Yanow. "Fair and Warmer! – June Christy | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to June Christy.|