Remembering Connee Boswell

Although nearly forgotten today, New Orleans-raised Connee or Connie Boswell was a major influence on Ella Fitzgerald and one of the first mainstream singers of the 1920s and 1930s  with Jazz inflections, She was even cited by composer Gunther Schuller in his book on the Swing Era for her diction and syncopated swinging. In this brief piece for New England Public Radio’s Tom Reney outlines the career of Boswell , born 115 years ago, and her sisters Vet and Martha, whose close harmonies defined the style which was later carried on by singing groups like the Hi-Los and even the Beach Boys. Although the trio eventually split up, Connee maintained a solo career until her death in 1976, frequently duetting with Bing Crosby and appearing in Hollywood films, even though she was disabled and sang seated in a wheelchair. This article includes clips of the sisters performing and an excerpt from a PBS documentary on the trio.