29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Following Blossom Dearie's death in February, comes this handsome 2-CD tribute. It kicks off with her self-titled September 1956 album, on which she was accompanied by Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and Jo Jones on drums. This was her first US release, but in Paris the preceding year she had recorded an instrumental LP, Blossom Dearie Plays For Dancing. She had recorded also with a French vocal group, The Blue Stars, six of which tracks complete the first CD. The second CD features the Ellis/Brown/Jones trio again, backing Blossom's piano and vocals on the 1957 album "Give Him The Ooh-La-La", followed by the 1958 album "Once Upon A Summertime" in which Herb Ellis and Jo Jones were replaced by Mundell Lowe and Ed Thigpen respectively, and finishing with a 1952 King Pleasure track.
The liner note is comprised of the original album sleeve notes, which have a certain period charm. Miss Dearie sings with emotional detachment, reminiscent of fifties cool, and her small-scale intimate style is an acquired taste. If you number among her fans you'll find this an excellent compendium of her talents.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
One of the great interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Blossom Dearie could never be labelled as either a jazz singer or cabaret performer despite also being a fine stylish pianist. Her distinctive girlish vocal clarity was her trademark and while it may have mislead many into thinking she was a pushover, her uncompromising demands for ideal working conditions included a ban on smoking, serving food and drinks and noisy audiences which she pointedly insisted br written into any supper-club contract. Why anyone would want to carry out such activities when Blossom was in performance is beyond me as her delicious style and varied repertoire was set to high perfectionism and demanded the full attention of any audience.
Unfortunately, Blossom passed away in February 2009, aged 82, and will be sadly missed as her vocal individualism was like a breath of fresh air in the crowded world of girl singers. Fortunately this well-timed release from Avid contains four excellent early Fifties classic albums BLOSSOM DEARIE PLAYS FOR DANCING (1955); BLOSSOM DEARIE (1956); GIVE HIM THE OOH-LA-LA (1957); ONCE UPON A SUMMERTIME(1958) that typify her style throughout her career until she retired around 2005. The first album, recorded in Paris, is dedicated to Blossom's piano skills and includes standards like THE BOY NEXT DOOR, APRIL IN PARIS and THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. Returning home to the USA she invariably continued to self-accompany her vocals with the added assistance of jazz musicians Ray Brown, Herb Ellis etc., and continued to mine standards like MORE THAN YOU KNOW, LOVER MAN, JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS and TEA FOR TWO as well as swinging with the best on MOONLIGHT SAVING TIME, BANG GOES THE DRUM, DOWN WITH LOVE and THE RIVERA. Her sense of rhythm was always spot on and she had the knack of discovering newer songs which she could make her own (IT AMAZES ME; A DOODLIN' SONG) which just gave Blossom the edge over others although, despite longevity of fame, she never quite attained mainstream popularity.
With some bonus tracks dedicated to her earlier work with vocal group The Four Stars in Paris in 1954, this collection's fifty-three tracks add up to a wonderful way to appreciate Blossom's unique talent with Avid's usual care with sound restoration, original album artwork and notes the icing on the cake and making this two-CD set an unmissable treat.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
She may have a silly name (it ranks alongside Ivor Price, who was one of my former bosses, as the silliest name I`ve ever come across), but Blossom Dearie is brilliant at what she does, which is sing romantic songs while playing the piano. On the music featured here, she was accompanied by small but select groups of supporting musicians. This compilations features all the tracks from four of Blossom's original albums (though one of those albums was short, featuring just eight songs), plus six tracks from a fifth album and other track. With each CD running to over 77 minutes, there was no room for any more tracks. The booklet features all the original liner notes and credits four the four main albums (but not for the fifth album), while the sound quality is excellent. All this comes at a price so low that you might dismiss it as another cheap budget release to be ignored. Don't do that, because this is a genuine bargain. The price is no doubt helped by British copyright laws (these albums are more than fifty years old) but Blossom doesn't need the money really, does she? Maybe she will benefit indirectly, as this compilation is bound to gain her some new fans.
Of the other singers with whom I'm familiar, and whose music I have enjoyed and often reviewed, the most obvious comparisons are with Jeri Southern and Julie London. Like them, Blossom has a limited vocal range but uses it well, and also like them, Blossom is ideally suited to singing romantic songs with a sparse musical backing. And like Jeri but not Julie, Blossom plays the piano. Yet while there are some similarities, Blossom's music is distinct from theirs.
The oldest track here (King Pleasure) dates from 1952. It barely qualifies for inclusion here, as Blossom only provides supporting vocals, but I suspect that Blossom's diehard fans who must have everything she recorded will be pleased to find it here, as track 25 of CD 2.
In 1954, while working in Paris, Blossom had the opportunity to assemble a vocal group, titled the Blue Stars, and to record an album. Six of the tracks, all in French, are featured here and they occupy tracks 23-28 of CD 1. They certainly sound good, but they are very different from Blossom's own music.
The oldest album featured in full here (Blossom Dearie plays for dancing) dates from 1955. Recorded in France, it occupies tracks 15-22 of CD 1 here. In those days, albums were often short, but what this album lacked in length, it made up for in quality. Blossom showcases her instrumental talents on the piano, supported only by a bassist and a drummer, on such classics as The continental, They can't take that away from me, The surrey with the fringe on top, April in Paris and Blue moon, as well as some less famous songs including Down in the depths, one of Cole Porter`s more obscure compositions.
In 1956, Blossom recorded a full-length eponymous album with fourteen tracks, which occupies tracks 1-14 here. This was the first Blossom Dearie album to feature her lovely vocals. In 1957, Blossom recorded Give him the ooh-la-la, which occupies tracks 1-12 of CD 2, then in 1958 she recorded Once upon a summertime, which occupies tracks 13-24 of CD 2. All three are excellent and provide enough reason alone to buy this set, especially at the price, irrespective of whether you want the earlier French music or not. These albums feature plenty of music from what some people regard as the golden age of song. Two of the tracks (Moonlight saving time, Surrey with the fringe on top) are vocal versions of tracks that Blossom originally recorded for her piano instrumental album. Elsewhere, the songs on these albums include Tea for two (which never sounded more romantic than Blossom`s version here), `Deed I do, It might as well be Spring, Lover man, Just one of those songs, If I were a bell, Our love is here to stay, Manhattan and plenty of other great songs, some more famous than others. Blossom's time spent in France left its impression, as there are three French tracks among them. For each album, Blossom's wondrous vocals and piano are accompanied by just three other musicians.
Some sources claim that Blossom's two 1959 albums (Blossom Dearie sings Comden and Green, My gentleman friend) are even better than any of the albums featured here. Well, I haven't heard them but I obviously hope to eventually. They don't have to be better than the music featured here to be worth listening to.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2009
Another great entertainer has left us - Blossom Dearie passed away this year. Fortunately we are left with some magical recorded music from her, and this double CD must rate as one of the bargains of the century. Four of her albums containing just about all of the jazz standards of her era. Her voice was unique and will never be replaced. If you have never heard her sing, buy these CDs and I am sure you will be enthralled, and if you are a fan these are essential listening. I first heard Blossom sing in a club in New York, and I have been listening enraptured ever since. RIP Blossom.