Blossom Dearie pursued a singular career that blurred the line between jazz and cabaret; her little girl style rich with hidden sensuality; her interpretations full of sensitivity and wit. One of the last supper club/cabaret performers,she performed regular engagements in London and New York City over many years.
“I don’t want to be called a jazz singer, though I certainly have some roots there. I’m not a cult singer either because after being called a legend that sounds too much like an epitaph. I think of myself as a songwriter’s singer. All the great Broadway and Hollywood teams are in my repertoire, along with contemporary people. Writers bring their songs to me because they rely on me to define their work with respect. That’s very flattering.” BLOSSOM DEARIE.
“Fabulous! Her voice, her tremendous feeling for every song she sings, gives her music a very rare and special warmth.” SCOTT ENGEL
New Yorker journalist Whitney Balliett once wrote that 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”.
After graduation, Blossom ventured to the late Forties New York City of Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker to immerse herself in be-bop, playing cocktail piano to get by. Opportunities to record eventually arrived in the form of vocalise sessions for Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart and for Stan Getz; the contribution of an eight-bar vocal to a record by King Pleasure and in 1952 a historic piano session behind Annie Ross, alongside Milt Jackson, Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke, no less; an aggregation that under the direction of John Lewis would soon emerge as the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Blossom then accepted an invitation from Barclay Records to move to Paris, where she formed an eight piece mixed vocal group, The Blue Stars of France. They recorded an album and enjoyed a domestic hit with a French-language version of George Shearing’s eternal ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ arranged by Michel Legrand, whose sister Christiane was a member of the group (The Blue Stars would evolve into Les Double Six and The Swingle Singers). In Paris, Blossom would meet her husband, the Belgian flautist Bobby Jaspar (the couple recording an EP together, hard on the heels of her souflee-light instrumental debut album, Jazz Sweet). While in Europe Blossom also met the impresario Norman Granz, who encouraged Blossom to return to New York to record her vocal debut album for his new label Verve. That benchmark album, produced by Granz and featuring Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and Jo Jones, retains a particular mystique and his considered to be up there with her best work.
All of the aforementioned recordings – The Verve album, Jazz Sweet, the EP with Bobby Jaspar, The Blue Stars recordings and the early sessions are included in this 3 CD box set presentation along with The Perfect Sound – The Jazz Flute of Bobby Jaspar, which includes some of his most sublime performances in recordings with the trombonist J.J Johnson, pianist Hank Jones, vibraphonists Milt Jackson, Michel Hausser and John Rae; with trumpeter Donald Byrd, guitarists Barry Galbraith, Sacha Distel and fellow Belgian Rene Thomas, the vocalist Helen Merrill with Bill Evans, and finally three finely sculpted tracks accompanying Blossom on her 1959 album, “My Gentleman Friend”.