Wednesday, February 11, 2009

a dearie worth remembering.

She was a trained classical pianist who turned herself into a hybrid jazz-cabaret singer, famous for her little-girl voice and vocal viewpoints. And, incredibly, she used her real name.

Well, two-thirds of it, anyway. She was born Marguerite Blossom Dearie in East Durham, NY, in April 1926. She died Blossom Dearie in New York, NY, last Saturday at the age of 82.

Blossom Dearie switched from classical piano to jazz upon joining a high-school band. In the mid-1940s, she moved to New York City to pursue her music career, and began singing with the Blue Flames as part of the Woody Herman Orchestra, and the Blue Reys as part of Alvino Rey's big band. In 1952, Blossom moved to Paris and created her own vocal group, Les Blue Stars, which eventually evolved into the Swingle Singers. She met and married Belgian flautist and saxophonist Bobby Jaspar; the union was brief. In 1954, she released her first solo album.

She subsequently returned to the States to sign a six-album deal with Verve Records, and during the 1960s, became a fixture at NYC and London nightclubs. In 1974, she founded her own label, Daffodil Records, and received enhanced exposure via television, including a series of appearances on The Today Show.

For me, she was the voice behind some of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock! episodes, including "Figure Eight," "Mother Necessity" and "Unpack Your Adjectives."

Blossom continued performing in clubs until 2006. She died peacefully in her sleep, but might never have forgiven the overrated and pretentious music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, of whom she spoke frequently but not glowingly.

Enjoy Unpack Your Adjectives while Blossom is no doubt unpacking her wings while someone peels her a grape:

1 comment:

Susan K. Morrow said...

What a fun post! Glad I stopped by. Never heard of this neat lady, but I do have a 7-year-old car named Blossom. Some coincidence, huh?