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Blossom Dearie: Blossom Dearie Sings Comden and Green (2002)

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This was the fourth of six titles that Blossom Dearie would record for Verve in the mid to late 1950s. As James Gavin explains in his liner essay for the 2001 reissue, Norman Granz wanted to further the success of the "songbook" concept he had developed with Ella Fitzgerald, so he sold Dearie on a tribute to the hit Broadway lyricists Adolph Green and Betty Comden. Dearie, accompanying herself on piano, is joined by the dream team of Kenny Burrell, Ray Brown, and Ed Thigpen. The sound of the disc is big and warm, enhancing the intimacy of Dearie’s hushed, unadorned style, which could almost be called an anti-style. Her piano, too, is plain and simple, but also thick with a jazz sensibility and an impeccable feel for the contour of a phrase. Brown and Burrell are tremendous on "The Party’s Over," which Dearie ends with a giggle. The band also cooks on "It’s Love," which begins as a calypso and switches to bright swing for Burrell’s aggressive solo. Dearie’s voice, despite its deadpan quality, seems to fit all these moods, from the lilting swing of "Hold Me, Hold Me, Hold Me" to the sullen, quasi-rubato "How Will He Know?" Comden and Green, for their part, have a way with a disarmingly personal lyric, "I Like Myself" being a perfect example. Dearie doesn’t merely sing the words, she inhabits the very sentiment, putting her enviable powers of self-invention on display.

Track Listing: 1. Lucky to Be Me 2. Just In Time 3. Some Other Time 4. Dance Only With Me 5. I Like Myself 6. The Party

Personnel: Blossom Dearie, vocals, piano; Kenny Burrell, guitar; Ray Brown, bass; Ed Thigpen, drums

Record Label: Verve Music Group

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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