Many years ago I owned a two record vinyl set – yes gentle reader there was a time when records were made of vinyl and had a hole in the middle that you put on a turn… but I digress – of the slender-voiced Blossom Dearie called My New Celebrity Is You. She had recorded some quirky numbers, some sentimental numbers, some wistful numbers but all witty, sophisticated and as I was to discover very Blossom stuff. I became a convert to the cult of Blossom and her records and then CDs became, and remain, standard listening in our household.
I say slender-voiced but behind that little girl whisper was a iron clad technique that made every word audible and a jazz piano style that was with the best of the bred. Some of her live albums, recorded at Ronnie Scott’s club in London, show the ability to hold a room of smoking, drinking, and sometimes partying club goers with a whisper that filled the room.
The title song of that first album was one of those “list songs” updated by songwriter Johnny Mercer for Blossom. Of course many of the “celebrity” names are lost in the mists of time to all but us old folks but the backup group is a “celebrity” list unto itself: Toots Thielemans – Harmonica, Jay Berliner – Guitar, Ron Carter – Bass, Grady Tate – Drums, Hubert Laws – Flute, George Devins – Percussion
One of her many albums included one that is often on our changer: Blossom Dearie Sings Comden and Green. The 60 year partner ship of two of the most creative talents in American musical theatre and cinema is beyond my scope to even start writing about. Let’s just say if you enjoyed Singin’ In the Rain, The Band Wagon, Auntie Mame, or Wonderful Town then you know Betty Comden and Adolph Green. If you’ve ever heard The Party’s Over, Just In Time, or, my own favourite, Some Other Time then you know Comden and Green.
On this day in 1858: The first Hallé concert is given in Manchester, England, marking the official founding of The Hallé orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.
5 thoughts on “Mercoledi Musicale”
I’m a cult member too! Love her!
Me too, ever since we saw her at Pizza Express and I bought a couple of LPs, asking her to sign one for a friend who admired her. ‘Yeah, sure’, she said, though not alas with any warmth. I guess you have to be hard as nails to sustain a career like that. ‘Peel me a grape’ and ‘I’m hip’ are my absolute faves.
I understand from remarks on a site I belonged to a while back that she was an extremely shy individual and not all that comfortable with people. But it is always a disappoint when someone you admire as an artist is not responsive. One of my big disappointments was Marilyn Horne who was … let’s just say less than gracious on two occasions.
Whereas her great pal Joan Sutherland was always a delight – Aussie down-to-earthness and humour. I had a teenage craze for her. After an interview evening at the time when she was singing duff old Donizetti in London – Behrens in Salome soon turned my head away from that stuff, though not from Joanie – I went to the stage door to get her autograph. One chap was standing there in a bright green T shirt with the glittery words ‘Joan IS Maria Stuarda’. ‘What a ghaaaaastly T shirt’ she said (but humorously, of course). Later, when I was singing in City Opera, I found that a bass in the group was that person.
Oh, thank you for this post. I had forgotten how much I loved her!