Blossom Dearie, Pixie Chanteuse
When cabaret singer Blossom Dearie died three years ago today, fans paid tribute to her online and our friends at Obit Magazine remembered her playful talent. Originally published February 2009 on Obit-Mag.com.
Listening to Blossom Dearie sing is like following the flight of a dandelion seed. Her feather-soft voice warbles and reels while a warm, breezy piano line buoys her gentle melodies. Despite Dearie’s pixie-like voice, her performances never lacked for emotional force, drawing crowds to jazz clubs and cabarets in London and New York for the better part of three decades. Dearie died on February 7, 2009. She was 82.
According to the New York Times:
A singer, pianist and songwriter with an independent spirit who zealously guarded her privacy, Ms. Dearie pursued a singular career that blurred the line between jazz and cabaret. An interpretive minimalist with caviar taste in songs and musicians, she was a genre unto herself. Rarely raising her sly, kittenish voice, Ms. Dearie confided song lyrics in a playful style below whose surface layers of insinuation lurked. Her cheery style influenced many younger jazz and cabaret singers, most notably Stacey Kent and the singer and pianist Daryl Sherman.
Dearie released six albums with Verve Records – “Blossom Dearie” (1956), “Give Him the Ooh-La-La” (1957), “Once Upon a Summertime” (1958), “Sings Comden and Green” (1959), “My Gentleman Friend” (1959) and “Soubrette Sings Broadway Hit Songs”(1960).
To her listeners, Blossom Dearie was a unique and exuberant talent. Fans from around the world have visited her online guest book to pay tribute to her:
"A beautiful free spirit who was a joy to listen to." (Jane Siddall, Perth Australia)
"Staggering in her virtuosity, I'm now crying at my (computer) keyboard." (George Dodd, Luton)
"Blossom, you are my favourite Singer. I once told someone it was Nina Simone but I lied." (Louis Smith, Southampton, England)
"The lady was class incarnate." (Rita Weill, Berkeley, California)
"I feel like crying that she is gone, but the hope she expresses keeps me focused to continue on . . ." (Thomas DiMattia, Wichita, Kansas)
Blossom Dearie's jazz legacy, as well as her classic recordings for Schoolhouse Rock, ensure that fans old and new will continue to enjoy this musical free spirit.
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