Five Firsts: Jeanne O’Connor of the New Standard

Jeanne O'ConnorNAME: Jeanne O’Connor
BAND AFFILIATION: Jeanne O’Connor and the New Standard; String of Pearls jazz vocal trio; Jeanne O’Connor jazz groups

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … I think it was Joni Mitchell’s “Ladies of the Canyon,” which came out in 1970. So many gals who liked to sing back then wanted to BE Joni, myself included! After a musical life mostly devoted to jazz, I’m returning to the great songs and songwriters of my youth with my New Standard group. We’re re-interpreting Joni, Carole King, Burt Bacharach and others, and it’s such a blast.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … I believe it was John Sebastian at C.W. Post College on Long Island. I adored him. So cool that he’s still playing.

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3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … My family’s upright piano, where I played through the sheet music to “Tapestry” and other pop tunes, in between Scarlatti and Chopin.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Well, if you don’t count “Moon River,” which I sang with my cousin Francine at family gatherings on a regular basis starting at the age of five, it was probably some songs from “The Mikado.” We had a very ambitious music teacher in 6th grade who staged complete versions of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and I had one of the leads.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Johnny and the Luncheonettes, a band in Providence, R.I. in the late ’70s. We played swing, Stones, Ray Charles, originals – whatever came into our heads!

Vocalist Jeanne O’Connor leads the New Standard – featuring Mallory O’Donnell, Bob Warren, Sam Zucchini, Peg Delaney and Tony Markellis (of the Trey Anastasio Band) – into Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm on Sunday to wrap up Travers Weekend. Admission is $16 in advance; $18 at the door.

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