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As a long-time admirer of singer/songwriter Blossom Dearie, it is good to see that her 1975 album From The Meticulous To The Sublime, a mid-career snapshot of her work, has finally been made available on CD.
Pursuing her own muse, Blossom Dearie formed the Blue Stars of France in the early 1950s, which culminated in a successful recording of "Lullaby of Birdland" in 1954. She appeared as the "girl" vocalist on the original King Pleasure recording of "I'm In The Mood For Love"; and the six Verve albums recorded in the latter half of the 1950s with Ray Brown and Jo Jones, in which she visited the Great American Songbook, are fondly remembered.
It wasn't until the 1970s that Blossom Dearie emerged as a composer of original songs, sometimes in collaboration with such notables as Johnny Mercer, Bob Dorough, or Dave Frishberg, and she began delighting audiences with her modern urban (and rural, for that matter) tales delivered in a distinctive and playful series of albums. Such is the case on this newly available session.
Accompanied by guitarist John Morrell, bassist Jim Hughart, and drummer Colin Bailey, Dearie presents a combination of six of her own songs, several of whichlike "Sweet Georgie Fame"; "Hey John," her tribute to John Lennon; and "I'm Shadowing You," co-written with Johnny Mercerhave become classic jazz/cabaret staples. Other additions include the quintessential Frishberg/Dorough song "I'm Hip," Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," and a version of Paul Simon's "Feelin' Groovy."
Sadly, the use of electric piano here, a reminder of the decade's affectation with the instrument, does detract from the total package.
Track Listing: I'm Hip, Saving My Feeling For You, Sweet Georgie Fame, A Face Like Yours, Hey John, I'm Shadowing You, Many's The Time, Send In The Clowns, Isn't That The Thing To Do?, Feelin' Groovy, How Do You Say Auf Wiedersehn?
Personnel: Blossom Dearie, vocals, keyboards; Jim Hughart, bass; John Morrell, guitar; Colin Bailey, drums.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.