viernes, 8 de mayo de 2009

Blossom Dearie: Once Upon a Summertime (1958)

A distinctive, girlish voice, crisp, impeccable delivery, and an irrepressible sense of playful swing made Blossom Dearie one of the most enjoyable singers of the vocal era. Her solid reputation was made on record with a string of excellent albums for Verve during the '50s, but she also remained a draw with Manhattan cabaret audiences long into the new millennium. Once Upon a Summertime (1958) is probably the finest album (and my personal favourite) that the bespectacled, bop-mad Betty Boop cut while she worked for the New York label: and that's saying a lot. Dearie's light-as-a-feather vocals float over her jazz piano chords on the definitive versions of ‘Manhattan,’ ‘Down with Love’ and the autumnal title track. Other highlights are ‘Moonlight Saving Time’, ‘It Amazes Me’, ‘We're Together’ ‘If I Were a Bell’ and ‘Our Love Is Here to Stay’. Even if she sticks to mainly standards, her aproach is so unique that it doesn't feel like they have been done before. Her warmth and sparkle ensure that she never treats those classics as the well-worn songs they often appear in less capable hands. Also interesting is her ability on the piano, as she provides most of her own accompaniment. Dearie has a very light and dainty touch and it makes the piano practically sing along with her. Teddy Wilson, one of the great style-setters of jazz piano, singled her out as one of his favourites. Playing with Blossom are guitarist Mundell Lowe, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, all of whom do a great job of being minimal yet soothing. Believe it or not, Blossom Dearie was born with that name (and what an accurate one!) and, believe it or not, she sounds exactly as she looks on the charming cover of this album !,,

The adorable Blossom Dearie singing and playing 'The Surrey with the Fringe on Top':

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