Blossom Dearie

Blossom Dearie Sings Comden and Green

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Buoyed by the success of Ella Fitzgerald's songbook series, Verve executive Norman Granz suggested to one of his other artists, Blossom Dearie, that she tackle the canon of lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green. But while Ella's acrobatic voice proved more than a match for any brand of songwriter (especially heavyweights like Gershwin, Porter, and Berlin), Dearie's porcelain vocals and restrained theatrics didn't immediately leap to mind when thinking of Comden and Green's exuberant material. Still, Blossom Dearie Sings Comden and Green is an interesting songbook, a collection of ten standards done Dearie's way, like no other. Usually accompanied just by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, she exercises a great deal of restraint for the usually confident "Just in Time." When the same technique is applied to "Dance Only With Me," however, losing just a few steps of the song's waltz tempo proves nearly fatal. Also, Dearie's voice isn't as strong as on her earlier records; perhaps the slight drop in songwriting quality is as much to blame as vocal strain. The date does pick up when Kenny Burrell arrives for the second side (he provides a deft accompaniment to "The Party's Over" and "Lonely Town"), though as darling as Dearie's voice is, the similarity of the material drags down even the sprightliest songbird.

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