13 February 2009
The news of singer Blossom Dearie's death at age 84 last weekend has inspired a host of tribute posts this week, many of them with mp3s or YouTube videos attached. I've enjoyed reading them all. While I generally try to keep this an obit-free zone, the occasion prompts me to offer a long-overdue apology to my first wife.
It was the late 80s and, as was so often the case, we found ourselves short on cash and decided to sell some old LPs at one of the record stores in Westport. One of those old records was a Blossom Dearie album (I've forgotten which). Janis had played some of it for me once and I suspect that I heard the little girl voice and saw the cutey pie on the cover and, knowing Janis's love of mid-century kitsch, wrote the whole thing off as an affectation. The album soon disappeared down the gaping maw of Penny Lane (probably) where it hopefully found a more unanimously appreciative home.
So let me officially declare: Boy, was I wrong about Blossom Dearie. She was the real deal. Over the years I grew into an outright fan, although there was always a nagging regret about that lost disc of vinyl. It also bothered me to be have been complicit in an economic argument trumping an aesthetic one. Life's too short for that.
And so the apologies: Sorry, Janis, that you had to part with your treasure. And likewise to you, Ms. Dearie, wherever you are, for not listening well enough at first.
Further Blossom Dearie clickage
About Last Night - Teachout says he first heard BD in 1979 and "became a fan on the spot." Way to go, smartypants.
DJA's Secret Society - who never seems to miss a trick
Fernham - cutely calls Dearie's style "ultra-white"
Rifftides - also has a fascinating note from Dave Frishberg about how Dearie's piano playing influenced Bill Evans. Fascinating, I tells ya!
There Stands the Glass - hurry while link lasts
JazzWax - a wealth of interesting details
NYT obit by Stephen Holden
LA Times obit by Jon Thurber
Posted by Lee at 11:26 AM