[Dixielandjazz] Blossom Dearie (Sings Dave Frishberg)

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 15 08:58:03 PST 2004

Maybe not strictly OKOM, but certainly appreciated by many on the list.
Blossom Dearie is a wonderful singer/jazz pianist and interprets Dave
Frishberg songs like the master himself. The NY Times outdid itself
today with two relevent articles. Could tuneful music be coming back?

Steve Barbone

March 15, 2004 - NY TIMES


She's Hip and Minimal, and Back in the Saddle Slinging Barbs


      To apply the words of Muhammad Ali to cabaret singing, it's not
enough to float like a butterfly unless you can also sting like a bee.
That's the secret of the jazz singer and pianist Blossom Dearie, whose
endearing feyness camouflages a poisoned hatpin. Stubbornly independent,
Ms. Dearie markets her music on her own label, Daffodil, and is
extremely discriminating in her taste: no Andrew Lloyd Webber, please.

On Saturday evening, after an extended sabbatical, Ms. Dearie returned
to her home away from home at Danny's Skylight Room, resuming an
open-ended, two-evenings-a-week engagement on Saturdays and Sundays. She
was accompanied by two longtime collaborators, Dave Silliman on
percussion and Ray Kilday on bass. To watch the three of them perform
was to appreciate the power of a carefully deployed
pop-jazz minimalism.

Ms. Dearie may be the finest interpreter of that master of satiric
songwriting, Dave Frishberg, whose "I'm Hip," a collaboration with Bob
Dorough, has become her unofficial theme song. Once again she delivered
a scathing interpretation of this self-advertisement of a pseudocool
name-dropping narcissist ("I even call my girlfriend `man' "). "My
Attorney Bernie," Mr. Frishberg's skewering of a shady lawyer and his
wine-tasting affectations, was just as devastating. In both numbers the
barbs came as sly asides, delivered with the vocal equivalent of a
raised eyebrow.

Songs were also smartly paired to offer contrasting views. "I Walk a
Little Faster," Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's cry of a lonely romantic
scouring the streets of Manhattan for true love, was followed by "I'm
Shadowing You," Ms. Dearie's breezy 1970's collaboration with Johnny
Mercer, which spoofs the same topic (and even brings in the Secret

It's old hat but worth saying again: less is more, especially when more
is waiting in the shadows, its stinger poised to strike.

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