Personnel includes: Blossom Dearie (vocals, piano); Bobby Jaspar (flute); Herb Ellis, Mundell Lowe, Kenny Burrell (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Jo Jones, Ed Thigpen (drums); Russ Garcia's Orchestra.
Russ Garcia's Orchestra includes: Russ Garcia (arranger, conductor).
Compilation producer: Michael Lang.
Recorded at Fine Sound and WOR Recording Studios, New York, New York in 1956 and 1957; Nola Recording Studio, New York, New York in 1958 and 1959; United Recorders, Hollywood, California in 1960. Includes liner notes by Todd Everett.
This is part of the Verve Jazz Masters series.
Personnel: Blossom Dearie (vocals, piano); Herb Ellis, Kenny Burrell, Mundell Lowe (guitar); Bobby Jaspar (flute); Ed Thigpen, Jo Jones (drums).
Liner Note Author: Todd Everett.
Recording information: Fine Sound, New York, NY (09/14/1956-02/19/1960); Nola Recording Studio, New York, NY (09/14/1956-02/19/1960); United Recorders, Hollywood, CA (09/14/1956-02/19/1960); WOR Recording Studios, New York, NY (09/14/1956-02/19/1960).
Editor: Peter Pullman.
Photographer: Chuck Stewert.
Arranger: Russell Garcia .
Long an icon among jazz musicians and fans alike, this album samples tunes from the six albums Blossom Dearie made for Norman Granz' Verve label during the period 1956 to 1960. Dearie doesn't have a particularly big voice, but, like a will-o-wisp, she skirts through her material in a whispery, smoky tone that demands and receives attention from her audience, whether that audience be in a club or concert, or listening to one of her many albums. She exudes a coy sexiness that adds an aura to her interpretations few other vocal artists have been able to match. This album is loaded with Dearie gems. Her classic rendition of "Once Upon a Summertime" with Mundel Lowe, Ray Brown, and Ed Thigpen typifies her ability to avoid the routine by turning the song she is performing into an intimate storytelling session. "Someone to Watch Over Me" comes across like a waif begging to be cuddled against the world's trials and tribulations, made even more endearing by the slight tremor in Dearie's voice. Her ability to get away with an unusual interpretation of a well-worn standard comes through on her slow, languorous rendition of "Tea for Two" with her piano inserting exclamation points at the right places, helping her to make her musical point. Her renowned ability to expand her interpretative ability by singing in French is shown off in "I Won't Dance." Dearie was also equally at home with less familiar material. In fact, she excels at delivering the lesser-performed tunes, infusing a life into them others seem unable to achieve. Along these lines, this album treats us to such melodies as "Little Jazz Bird" (which Dearie pretty much has made her own), "Bang Goes the Drum," and on her own "Dearie's Blues," showcasing her facility for combining wordless and regular singing the same line of lyric. All of the cuts but one on the album are small group sessions with the artist doing her own work on piano, thus avoiding the task of coming up with a good accompanist which most vocalists must cope with. The one cut with an orchestra, led by Russ Garcia, confirms that Dearie, with her light voice, is more effective with a small group.
For those who want to sample Dearie's work, this compilation should fill the bill. And for her dyed-in-the-wool fans, this album allows them to visit highlights of her work with Verve on a single CD. ~ Dave Nathan