Many of you already know of my love for Blossom Dearie so you can imagine how sad I am to hear about her death on Saturday. She was 82.
I was fortunate enough to get to see her perform live a few years ago at Danny's Skylight Room here in NYC when my parents came up for a visit. She was a teeny little lady, utterly adorable, with a shiny, short, white-blonde bob with bangs.
She played a charming set -- her voice still sweet & light, no signs of age seemed to mar it. Little witty comments were sprinkled between the songs -- it was a little on the short side but darn near perfect. Seeing that performance is still remembered as one of their favorite things we did in NYC.
After the show, she sat in the front of the bar, signed autographs & chatted with fans.
Side note: Before I move to NYC, I'd come here a lot for work & Blossom's light breezy voice always seemed to be in my head while I roamed the streets, specifically the Little Italy area.: "tell me what street compares with Mott street in July? Sweep pushcarts gliding by..." Here's that version -- it's sublime: Blossom Dearie -- Manhattan
When it was my turn to talk to her, I was a bit nervous. I told her that her version of "Manhattan" was the one that I love the most & gave me a rush of NYC pride whenever I heard it. I also told her that play her music on my radio show frequently. She asked me to write down the information about my radio show so she could listen to it -- so nice! (Then my Mom tried to take a picture of us but didn't know how to use her camera so she couldn't get the flash to work, which was disappointing -- she doesn't like to read directions. Damn you Mummy!)
I realize that's a completely boring non-story but I thought I'd share it anyway. I just loved her music & feel lucky to have caught a performance.
NPR has re-posted a great interview with Blossom on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz show from 2001 -- click here to hear it.
And here's her interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (it aired in 1998) -- click here.
Here are a few of my favorite Blossom Dearie songs -- hope you enjoy:
-- Here's a small sampling of the songs in her repertoire -- just gorgeous:
R.I.P. Blossom -- thank you for giving us the gift of you.