Blossom Dearie, the jazz singer with the Betty Boop voice, has died. She was 82. Via the San Jose Mercury News:
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.
But just under her fey camouflage lay a needling wit. If you listened closely, you could hear the scathing contempt she brought to one of her signature songs, “I’m Hip,” the Dave Frishberg-Bob Dorough demolition of a name-dropping bohemian poseur. Ms. Dearie was for years closely associated with Frishberg and Dorough. It was Frishberg who wrote another of her perennials, “Peel Me a Grape.”
Ms. Dearie didn’t suffer fools gladly and was unafraid to voice her disdain for music she didn’t like; the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber were a particular pet peeve.
Blossom was a huge talent–both keyboard and voice–bursting from a small package. She was smart, she was witty, she was merciless; her scat style was on a par with Ella Fitzgerald (if Ella had inhaled helium). Every song she performed had either a tear or a twinkle it its eye.
I leave you with a short compilation from 1985 of three of my favorites–she is so very on top of her game, she will leave you calling for more.
Thanks, Ms. Dearie, and so long. May it always be apple blossom time where you are now.