Connie Evingson is one of a choice group of jazz performers who have successfully made the Twin Cities their home base. Others include guitar player Joan Griffith; ace piano player Sanford Moore; and saxophone, clarinet and flute player Dave Karr. Although her first professional gig didn't come along until 1980, Evingson had been performing before the public since she was five when she was in her church and school choirs. Growing up in a household where music was played nonstop, she absorbed the offerings of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Joe Williams, and later Peggy Lee and Shirley Horn. After receiving a B.A. from the University of Minnesota where she studied anthropology as well as music, Evingson started to work in 1980 at the Night Train, a small club in St. Paul, MN, that started her on a very active performing career on the stage and in the recording studio. During the 1980s and 1990s, there were tours to Japan, Italy, Portugal, and Finland as a member of the vocal group Moore by Four. In 1999, Evingson joined Doc Severinsen in an Ellington concert as the veteran trumpet player conducted the Minnesota Orchestra. Also in 1999, Evingson gave two concerts to honor her singing idol, Peggy Lee. There were appearances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as well as performances at the Art of Jazz Concert Series in Seattle and the Cabaret Convention at New York's Town Hall.
Evingson has cut three albums of her own, I Have Dreamed, Fever: A Tribute to Peggy Lee, and 1999's Some Cats Know. On the latter, she is joined by several noted jazz stars, including a reunion with Severinsen. She has also been a guest on Moore by Four's Swing Fever in 1991, in 1989 on Deck the Halls and Singin' Joy to the World, in 1995 on Witness, and finally in 1998 Red Hot Holidays. Some Cats Know followed in 1999.
The three albums where she is featured reveal a singer with imagination and a willingness to take a few liberties with the lyrics to make them more attractive to the listener, as well as helping to make the tune her own. This, along with the requisite vocal technical skills, places Evingson among the first-rank of today's jazz vocalists. ~ Dave Nathan