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He started singing very young and appeared with a local orchestra during his high school years. He moved to Chicago in the early 1940s, changing his name to Sharon Leslie, and sang with a group led by Boyd Raeburn. In 1945, after learning that Anita O’Day had just left Stan Kenton’s orchestra, he underwent a test to gain access to his position, which he achieved. Despite initial similarities with O’Day (physical and vocal), the singer – now called June Christy, soon found her own style that matched perfectly with Kenton, both in the most innovative themes (“Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy “,” Tampico “) as in the traditional standards intricately arranged by the director (” How High the Moon “). As his popularity grew, arranger Pete Rugolo began writing with his style in mind. When the Kenton Orchestra disbanded in 1948, Christy worked on the nightclub circuit until reuniting with Kenton in 1950 in his Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra, a very modern group of forty musicians who toured the United States. For her part, June had debuted individually for Capitol the previous year with a group led by her husband, Kenton saxophonist Bob Cooper.
Christy’s debut album for Capitol, Something Cool, 1954, was recorded with Rugolo as conductor of the orchestra. The album launched the cool movement and was very successful, like the next one, The Misty Miss Christy. He made a record in 1955 in a duo with Kenton’s piano, and several others with musicians from Kenton and with Rugolo or Bob Cooper in the direction of the orchestra.
He retired in 1965 to return in 1977 with an album entitled Impromptu for Musicraft.
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