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Blossom Dearie - The Complete Recordings 1952-1962
An idiosyncratic, girlish voice, snappy, flawless deliverance, and an irrepressible sense of light-hearted swing made Blossom Dearie one of the most pleasant singers of the vocal era. Her tenderness and glisten ensured that she'd never treat standards as the well-worn songs they often appeared in less competent hands. And though her reputation was made on record with a string of excellent albums for Verve during the '50s, she remained a draw with Manhattan cabaret audiences long into the new millennium.
Born with the name Blossom Dearie in the New York Catskills, she began playing piano at an early age and studied classical music before making the switch to jazz while in high school. After graduation, she moved to New York and began appearing with vocal groups like the Blue Flames (attached to Woody Herman) and the Blue Reys (withAlvino Rey). She also played cocktail piano around the city, and moved to Paris in 1952 to form her own group, the Blue Stars of France. Dearie also appeared in a nightclub act with Annie Ross, and made a short, uncredited appearance on King Pleasure's vocalese classic, "Moody's Mood for Love." She recorded an obscure album of piano solos called April In Paris, and in 1954, the Blue Stars hit the national charts with a French version of "Lullaby of Birdland."
After hearing Dearie perform in Paris in 1956, Norman Granz signed her to Verve and she returned to America by the end of the year. Her eponymous debut for Verve featured a set of standards that slanted traditional pop back to its roots in Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and cabaret. Her focus on intimate readings of standards ("Deed I Do," "Thou Swell") and the relaxed trio setting (bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jo Jones, plus Dearie on piano) drew nods to her cabaret background.
On her next few records, Dearie stuck to her focus on standards and small groups, though her gift for songwriting emerged as well with songs like "Blossom's Blues." She performed in solo settings at supper clubs all over New York, and appeared on the more cultured of the late-'50s New York talk shows.
This collection charts the complete Dearie early years, including her first solo piano album as well as work with the Blue Stars, to her more well known stints with Verve and other labels of the time. A great and essential collection for any Blossom fan, and with 95 tracks and several hours worth of listening, a real gem at an unbeatable price.
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