Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Intimate fifties jazz at its best
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 07/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Charles A. Vick | 11/21/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"buyer beware , I have superior versions from previous releases. can not recomned this complaition ."