Blossom Dearie

Blossom Time at Ronnie Scott's

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From the audience's reaction, Blossom Dearie held London in the palm of her hand during her stand at Ronnie Scott's. They clapped and shouted and, sometimes, to the surprised joy of Dearie herself, sang along. The ten-track set, recorded with Dearie on piano and vocals with drummer Johnny Butts and bassist Jeff Clyne, alternates between comic numbers and ballads, although it's clear which Dearie prefers. Although she has the capability of summoning melancholy and loss as readily as glee, she prefaces the somber "When the World Was Young" by deadpanning to a few audience guffaws, "I feel that I must warn you right now that...there's a very dramatic ending." She's simply bewitching in either mode, mastering the intimacy and confidence that allowed cabaret or jazz singers to hold an audience spellbound, but best when using her girlish voice and comic's timing to skewer romance ("Everything I've Got Belongs to You") or hipness ("I'm Hip"). Compared to her studio sides, her voice becomes yet warmer and more personable in person, with just a rub of vibrato at the end of her lines. Blossom Time at Ronnie Scott's is a splendid complement to her two or three best Verve LPs.

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