I discovered Miss Dearie on a film soundtrack some years ago. I think the first song I fell in love with was Put on a Happy Face. I can’t seem to find it on YouTube but it is the soundtrack to this film on Vimeo…
What a unique voice. I had to find out more about this lady…
Turns out Blossom Dearie (that’s her real name!) was born in Albany and studied piano as a child. She got into Jazz as a teen and moved New York shortly after. She mixed with all the rising stars of the day and formed her own vocal group, arranging popular songs of the day for them to sing.
She soon got noticed and then signed by a big studio. In the years that followed she sang and recorded all over the world, not least recording four albums in London and performing regularly at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. She was notoriously strict about her environment when performing. She disliked background noise or even the movements of waitresses. Given that she sung a lot in nightclubs it’s a wonder these stipulations were adhered to, but they were! More often seen as a mark of her seriousness about performing than diva-esque tendencies.
I love the fact that her name perfectly matches the tone of her voice. Her gentle, wispy, childlike tone is almost ethereal and quite unique. I never tire of a jazz standard sung by Miss Dearie. She often turned down full orchestras in favour of hand picked backing bands consisting of the best musicians of the day. The phrasing is very finely observed and her choice of material is sublime. I urge you to check out this back catalogue and be charmed as I have been.
It is with clicking fingers I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!