Has a musician’s given name ever been as apt in describing its bearer as Blossom Dearie’s? Fresh, light and sweet in both her vocal and piano delivery, she eschewed the show-stopping style of some of her jazz peers, instead favouring a more minimalist approach. Her appealingly understated charm and matter-of-fact delivery, on display here, often had a wry edge too – the musical equivalent of a raised eyebrow.
Here she’s shown in many different settings, from French chanteuse to close harmony alto to New York cabaret singer. This is an extremely comprehensive package, but a word of warning if you were hoping to hear Dearie sing or play on every track – much of the set is given over to the flute playing of her husband, Bobby Jaspar, with Dearie featuring on only two of the tracks on CD3, for example.
Still, we get a broad sweep of the singer-pianist’s beguiling talents, with the first part of CD1 dedicated to tracks on which she is leader on piano, including a delightfully fancy-free version of Old Devil Moon. There’s also a selection of songs Dearie recorded with The Blue Stars of France, all in French, including the irresistible Légende Du Pays Aux Oiseaux (Lullaby Of Birdland).
We find Dearie in the spotlight as vocalist on CD2, where her inimitable versions of Tout Doucement and ’Deed I Do skip brightly along, and fare much better than more introspective songs like Lover Man.
The package is pleasingly comprehensive, with original artwork, detailed liner notes and a colour booklet. Much to dive into here for collector and newcomer alike.
CD1: Old Devil Moon; Autumn In New York; Flamingo; There Will Never Be Another You; The Continental; The Boy Next Door; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; Moonlight Saving Time; The Surrey With The Fringe On Top; April In Paris; Blue Moon; Down In The Depths Of The 90th Floor; Légende Du Pays Aux Oiseaux; Tout Bas; Gina; Plus Je T’Embrasse; Toute Ma Joie; Les Lavandières Du Portugal; Mister L’Amour; En 1920; Embrasse Moi Bien; Lettre À Virginie; La Danse Du Baiser; Mambo Italiano; Jumpin’ At The Woodside; C’Est La Vie; Broadway At Basin Street; Grapevine; Move (78.00)
CD2: ’Deed I Do; Lover Man; Everything I’ve Got; Comment Allez Vous; More Than You Know; Thou Swell; It Might As Well Be Spring; Tout Doucement; You For Me; Now At Last; I Hear Music; Wait Till You See Her; I Won’t Dance; A Fine Spring Morning; They Say It’s Spring; Johnny One Note; The Surrey With The Fringe On Top; Cherokee; Déjà; In The Merry Land Of Bop; Hot Halavah; Be Still TV; Short P, Not LP; The Way You Look Tonight; I’m Beginning To Think You Care For Me; Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; Everytime; I’m In The Mood For Love (80.00)
CD3: It Might As Well Be Spring; Moonlight Becomes You; Tutti Frutti; In A Little Provincial Town; Bags’ New Groove; Stop And Go; Bull Market; Nina Never Knew; A Gal In Calico; I Like To Recognise The Tune; When The Sun Comes Out; Flute Blues; Phenil Isopropil Amine; Chez Moi; Boum; L’Etang; Ah-Leu-Cha; Hannies’ Dream; Bernie’s Taste (78.00)
Dearie (v, p); various personnel including Bobby Jasper (f); Bill Evans (p); Kenny Burrell (g); Ray Brown (b). Various dates between 1948 and 1961.
Cherry Red Records ACME345BOX