Quote Unquote: Blossom Dearie

The great jazz singer Blossom Dearie died on 7 February, aged 82. I first came across her when I saw Linn Lorkin performing “Peel me a grape” and went to the source. She was amazing – even Miles Davis, who said some harsh things about white musicians, was a fan. You might have heard her on the soundtrack to Kissing Jessica Stein, My Life Without Me or The Squid and the Whale. Possibly you heard her duet with Lyle Lovett. She was still performing in 2006.

She had a girly wisp of a voice, a piano style that swung hard and that’s all she needed to entrance. With added Ray Brown on bass, Herb Ellis on guitar and Jo Jones on drums, as on the album Blossom Dearie recorded in New York in 1956, she was stunning. Quiet, but stunning.

I have never been able to find a copy of Blossom Dearie Sings Rootin’ Songs. Life is like that sometimes. Still, here she is performing “Surry with the Fringe on Top” some time in the early 60s: