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|Blossom Dearie||Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals|
|Oscar Hammerstein II||Composer|
|Roger "Ram" Ramirez||Composer|
|Christopher Evans||Liner Notes|
Posted May 20, 2012
One of the reasons I use music is to make me actually want to get out of bed and get moving in the morning. This album is good for that on a lazy weekend morning, mostly soft, gently jazzy. Given when I like to play this, it makes sense that my favorite track is "I Hear Music", which describes morning household sounds as music. I was delightfully surprised by that track.
The first 14 tracks are from 1956's Blossom Dearie album (without the bonus tracks that are now at the end of that cd). All of those have vocals except "More Than You Know".
The next dozen are from her earlier-in-1956 April in Paris album, which is strictly instrumental. Blossom is on piano, playing with bass and drums, and (on the first 4) flute.
The last two tracks are from Les Blue Stars (vocal octet/sextet) she formed a couple of years earlier. Those last two have yet to grow on me -- they're quite swingin' and make me feel like I've gotta grab my coat and hat and rush out the door with a flurry of papers in my wake, so they don't have the feeling I want in the morning . . . but when I take up the jitterbug I bet they'll be really useful for practicing.
An excerpt from the liner notes in this booklet is on the back cover, and I'm copying it here:
"When Blossom Dearie first emerged as a solo artist in the mid Fifties, she was already unique in many ways. Straightaway there was that voice - kittenish, intimate, coquettish, and understated where so many other jazz divas were straining to belt out every song, or seduce with an array of groans, purrs, and other orgasmic signifiers. Admirer Tracy Thorn got it right when, in singling out one of Blossom's records as an all-time favourite in Mojo magazine, she said: 'She sings in this very smooth, not over-emotional way, so you have to do a little work, you have to supply the life experience that puts the emotion into these kinds of records.'"
Most of my other favorite tracks one this cd are songs I've already known and loved with other artists, like Thou Swell, Wait Till You See Him, Old Devil Moon (instrumental), and Blue Moon (instrumental). The other wonderful surprise for me (besides I Hear Music), this time from the piano album, was "Down the Depths of the 90th Floor", which is delicately beautiful. "A Fine Spring Morning" may become a new favorite, too. Also, it's not a favorite, but I really like that "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" (instrumental) doesn't remind me of a musical here.
One thing about Blossom's vocal's I'm not crazy about is her accent when she's singing in French, like in Comment Allez-Vous, It Might As Well Be Spring, and Tout Doucement. At times it seems fine to me, but at other times it reminds me of intermediate high school students. I don't know if it's just because her style is different from the French songs I'm used to hearing (granted, most of those are sung by native French speakers, but not all are).
I'm impressed that Blossom started her own record label later on, which I wouldn't have known but for the liner notes, and I'm please to have now discovered she has later albums available on that website.