Voices In Modern
The New Yorker critic Whitney Balliett once said her tiny wisp of a voice "would scarcely reach the second story of a doll's house", while jazz critic Leonard Feather described it as "a voice in a million".
Despite a catalogue of albums of outstanding class for Verve and Fontana in the fifties and sixties and another fifteen independent productions that would appear on her own daffodil label from 1974 onwards, Blossom is perhaps best known in America for her memorable recordings of the songs as Figure 8 and Adjectives that featured on the seventies children's tv series Schoolhouse Rock. Internationally, Blossom Dearie's understated, playful, sometimes barbed style, has influenced musicians as diverse as Cleo Laine and Tracey Thorn.
The leading exponents of vocalese were Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks, who recruited the highly regarded Annie Ross to form one of the most exciting and revolutionary vocal groups there has ever been. All three were virtuosos and between them they could simulate the swing and pyrotechnics of a conventional jazz group riffing, taking solos and trading licks. Lambert also wrote intricate arrangements for larger vocalgroups in which different voices could take the roles of the various parts of an orchestral ensemble. Lambert, Hendricks and Ross became one of America's most successful and distinctive jazz acts, achieving a standard of vocal inventiveness, elegance and sheer dazzling technique that has never been equalled.
Working in much the same idiom as Lambert Hendricks & Ross were the French swingers, Les Double Six. Founded in 1959 by Mimi Perrin, Annie Ross's Parisian counterpart, the sextet proved to be exceptional improvisors and one of the most innovative vocal ensembles of the era. Perrin had worked with both Blossom Dearie and Christiana Legrand who were together in the seminal vocalese group Les Blue Stars. Les Double Six included both Legrand and the American, Ward Swingle, singer and arranger for the Swingle Singers, (who would apply the scat singing idea to the work of classical composers) and these recordings, produced by Quincy Jones, are a clear antecedent for his subsequent work.
"A curious anthology mingling Blossom Dearie's Verve album, Soubrette with miscellaneous offerings from Lambert, Hendricks, Ross and Les Double Six." - Alyn Shipton - JAZZWISE - June 2012
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Blossom Dearie - Guys And Dolls / Confession / Rhode Island Is Famous For You / To Keep My Love Alive / Too Good For The Average Man / The Gentleman Is A Dope / Always True To You In My Fashion / Napoleon / Life Upon The Wicked Stage / The Physician / Love Is The Reason / Buckle Down, Winsocki / Lambert Hendricks & Ross - Jackie / Swingin' Til The Girls Come Home / Four / Main Stem / Twisted / Bijou / Cloudburst / Les Double Six - Stockholm Sweetnin' / Boo's Bloos / Meet Benny Bailey