Heidi just told me the news that jazz pianist/singer Blossom Dearie died Saturday at the age of 82. This is truly sad news.
Blossom Dearie has the distinction of being the first (and, so far, only) artist whose music I started investigating thanks to hearing one of her songs while being on hold at work. The song was "Rhode Island Is Famous For You." (stream it here)
Dearie's baby-doll voice has been referred to as not being able to reach the second story of a dollhouse, but I always loved it. She is known to members of our generation as the voice behind the "Unpack Your Adjectives" and "Figure Eight" Schoolhouse Rock shorts. And until as recently as 2006, she was performing at Danny's Skylight Room in New York. That is one hard working octogenarian. Sadly, she was not performing when I was in NYC in 08. She was on my short list of artists to see live before I (or they) die. It's one that will go unfulfilled.
Dearie's albums that she recorded for Verve in the 50s are top notch and worth seeking out. The work that followed is a bit more hit and miss. Regardless, she was a one of a kind voice that may be silenced but will live on in her recordings forever.
And for those of you who don't give a shit about Blossom (even though you should), here's food for thought - in 2007, Kylie Minogue cited her as one of her primary influences.