It's funny hearing such signature Blossom Dearie songs as "Dear John" and the Schoolhouse Rock classic "Figure Eight" without that oh-so-identifiable voice and delivery. Funny, but Amy Cervini is a talented enough vocalist that it isn't the slightest bit distracting to not have that adorably individual style and delivery that is unmistakably Blossom Dearie.
Cervini claims to be paying homage, not so much to her predecessor's specific work as a pianist or a vocalist, but to the choices Dearie made as an artist. Cervini herself makes all the right choices on this, her third, recording. The players she's chosen are not only top notch New York players, but the perfect backing band for a vocalist. Pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Matt Aronoff and drummer Matt Wilson are greatly sensitive, with huge ears and a feel for accompaniment that was also a feature of some of Dearie's best records, which featured players such as Kenny Burrell, Ray Brown, and Jo Jones. Her choice of tunes is also superb, sprinkling in Dearie classics with less often heard gems such as "Rhode Island," as well as standards that Dearie made her own, like "Tea for Two."
The session opens up with "Everything I've Got," with the perfect for tribute line, "Everything I've got belongs to you," though this is not the case when it comes to Cervini. With a mature voice that's nothing like the girlish voice to which Dearie was often ascribed, Cervini will never be mistaken for Dearie. Warm and full, while Cervini demonstrates some of the recently deceased singer's delivery on "Down with Love," she doesn't try to "do" Dearie. Barth plays wonderfully throughout, especially on ballads such as "I Like You, You're Nice," while Wilson continues to show why he is one of the most in-demand drummers around, further proving his ability to play in any setting and approaching the session with a restrained and laidback approach that is pitch-perfect for some classic Dearie bands.
One problem with tributes is thatespecially when they are effectiveit might ultimately be preferable to go straight to the source, and Digging Me Digging You does serve as a reminder of just how great Dearie was. There are moments when the songs feel a tad impersonal compared with the originals; how can any voice be quite as personal and special as Blossom Dearie's? Still, Cervini is also a talent deserving attention, making some very strong choices with Digging You Digging Me .
Track Listing: Everything I've Got; I Like You; Rhode Island; May I Come In; My Attorney Bernie; Hey John; Down With Love; Once Upon A Summertime; Doodlin Song; I'm Shadowing You; Tea For Two; The Physician; Figure Eight.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.