Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blossom Dearie - Simply Volume VI (USA, 1983)

Yes I know, the name of the artist is ridiculous.... but listen to the music before passing judgement.

Long long ago when I was a university student listening to American jazz and fusion I found this as a cassette in a nearby record store downtown a few minutes' walk from the apartment I shared with my brother.  Over the next few years I listened to it over and over again and learned to play most of the songs on the piano.  On a holiday to New York City some years later that I planned around a performance of Blossom either at the Village Vanguard or the Blue Note, I don't remember which, I ran up to her after the set and told her how much I loved this record and the ones before and after...  her only comment?  "then maybe buy some more of these CDs and cassettes here" to which I answered, "but I have them all already," whereupon she turned her back on me without another word.
How could I have foreseen that the person who sang like an angel on my favourite jazz records of my teen years turned out to be a mercenary only interested in making me buy a few dumb cassettes for a few dollars?  I was crushed, and probably had one too many 'singapore slings' that night at the jazz club.   Of course considering the stature of the musicians she worked with in her life (her earlier life that is, by the time I saw her she must have been about 60), the idolatry of a univ. student a third her age would have seemed bizarre I guess especially since my pens-in-shirt-pocket geekiness and accompanying girlfriend would have made me a most undesirable and inappropriate boytoy.

I was reminded of her when listening to Radka Toneff,  because she did a version, on Fairytales, of one of Blossom's best compositions: Long Daddy Green (about the American dollar, of course).  The other fantastically beautiful record she did, similar to Fairytales in sparseness, is "Chez Wahlberg" -- just a masterpiece of delicate emotions and poetry, covering almost a full range in human relationships and social interactions in one record, like a Russian novel.  To me this impossible to find record was her best album, and no one knows it-- how typical.

Listening to this again today I find the soft breeziness and sentimental loveliness, the heavenly, spacey Rhodes so typical of those beautiful happy and innocent days of the seventies and early eighties.  Of course it's all about nostalgia of childhood, those younger than me will feel the same way about eighties music, or nineties music.  Still, I would argue that objectively, there is something almost supernaturally beautiful about the music of the seventies (and to some extent sixties).

The best track by far is a duet she did with Bobby Dorough (remember him from Children of all Ages?) called "Bring all your love along" which I 've sung in courting many a female in my life.  (Thank god I'm past all that now.  Although my wife daily tells me the opposite, why is there no more courting anymore?  I love Woody Allen's answer to that: "because it's exhausting!")  I wonder why the amazing pop song "Answering Machine" never got off the ground as a radio hit.  As a sample I'll also include the astonishingly intricate composition, "I told you so," with its gorgeous Fender Rhodes.  Skip over track B4, a cover version of Billy Joel's atrocious medieval torture instrument, "Just the way you are," I could never figure out what bizarre lapse led to its being included on this record.

B2 "I Told You So" (Words and Music by Duncan Lamont)

A5 "Answering Machine" (Words and Music by Rupert Holmes)

Bob Dorough - Guest Performance A5 and B5
Edward Remusat - Recording Engineer
Mike Renzi - Mentor and Additional Keys
Grady Tate - Drums
Jay Berliner - Guitar
Jay Leonhard - Bass
(Blossom plays most of the keyboards otherwise.)

Her huge discography:


Tristan Stefan said...
don't download if you're not into sentimental music!

Franco said...

Thanks Again Trist' !

Jaye Maynard said...

Thank you for the most excellent Blossom blurb. Her personality was something extraordinary but she was an amazing and phenomenal musicians musician. She and Bobby worked on SchoolHouse Rock and more. Bob is still with us. Blossom's legacy lives on.


ushaped said...

Hi Tristan,

Sorry I haven't visited in a while! I'm pretty sure the first time I heard Ms. Dearie was singing some of the songs for Schoolhouse Rock although I didn't know who she was at the time. Bob Dorough was the musical director of those educational shorts so the association between the two of them was long indeed. My favourites by her were "Adjectives" and "Figure 8".

Anonymous said...

I first found her from schoolhouse rock, great stuff

Anonymous said...

hello can you please make available the whole recording

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