It’s odd thatBlossom Dearie wasn’t a household name.
Or, maybe not. Jazz critic Whitney Bailliett famously wrote that Dearie’s voice “would scarcely reach the second storey of a doll’s house.”The voice, which could be as sarcastic as it was whimsical, and the cabaret/jazz hybrid musical style she favored, weren’t to everyone’s liking, I guess.
Of course, not everyone likes quiet Sunday mornings with the sun streaming in the windows, or late Saturday nights with just you and your sweetie, stealing a kiss on the subway platform, or an endless champagne brunch in some tucked-away little spot. Those are Blossom Dearie moments, those are the places where that voice can take you.
It was years and years, and years, ago that a friend lent me a CD of the classic “Blossom Dearie” on Verve. I remember trying to figure it all out. Damn, she played the piano too? Was she American? Still alive? It sounded like it could have been recorded decades ago, or just yesterday. Turns out that album was recorded the year I was born, but I never got tired of listening. Probably never will.
One thing I’ve always loved is how Dearie gets comfortable and just stretches out with an arrangement. Like she’s got all the time in the world, for this music, for you.
Interestingly enough, generations of Dearie’s biggest fans never even knew her name. They just know that voice, which is entirely fitting, fromSchoolhouse Rock: