Start the weekend in the right way with some reading to do, for instance here in the NYT with a bio on Flannery O' Connor. Enjoy!
Ian Carr, frontman of Nucleus as well the author of one the finest Miles bio's
passed away today.
You canread more about Ian Carr here.
April 29, 1926 - February 2009
New York: Feb. 7, 2009: Legendary songwriter/singer Blossom Dearie died
peacefully in her Greenwich Village home following a lengthy illness. She was 84
years old. Her longtime manager/representat
Ms. Dearie was always known for her girlish voice and writing urbane songs
about love and humor and collaborations with the likes of Cy Coleman and
Johnny Mercer. Her last professional engagement was at Danny's Skylight Room (now
closed) on Restaurant Row where she performed regularly for seven years
Born Marguerite Blossom Dearie in East Durham, New York on April 29, 1926,
and after studying classical music, began her career in earnest as a teen when
she switched from classical piano to jazz. She moved to New York City after
graduating high school to pursue a serious music career. Initially, she began
singing with groups such as The Blue Flames with The Woody Herman Orchestra
and another group called the The Blue Reys (with Alvino Rey's Band) before
embarking on a solo career.
In 1952, she moved to Paris where she shared an apartment with rising jazz
singer Annie Ross. Soon, she formed a vocal group called The Blue Stars. In
1954, the group had a hit with a French language version of "Lullaby of
Birdland." In time, the group would become The Swingle Sisters. While living in
Paris, she met her future husband, a Belgian flutist and saxophonist named Bobby
Jaspar. On her first solo album, released in France, she played piano but did
not sing. Her most famous song of that period was titled, "The Riviera,"
co-written and composed with Cy Coleman and Joseph McCarthy in 1956.
Returning to New York in the late '50's, she recorded six albums on the
Verve label through the early sixties. Most were recorded using a trio or
quartet. "Today" talk show host Dave Garroway was an early fan and featured her on
the program several times. Her fan base was rabid and growing by then. In
1962, she recorded a song for a radio show for Hires Root Beer. Its popularity
was such that it led to the LP, "Blossom Dearie Sings Rootin' Songs." In 1964,
she recorded her best known album for Capitol Records, "May I Come In?" which
was recorded with a full orchestra. It was during this time that Ms. Dearie
started performing in supper clubs in New York where she began honing her
distinctive singing style. In 1966, she made an appearance at Ronnie Scott's
night club in London and quickly became a popular attraction there. She also
gained notoriety for frequent appearances with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook on
television. Also while in London, she went on to record four albums on the
In 1974, she established her own record label, Daffodil Records. This
allowed her complete artistic, recording and distribution control over her growing
cache of material. Through the years, she also appeared on many television
programs most notably the children's series called "Schoolhouse Rock." Here,
many of her pieces were co-written with Bob Dorough. Her child-like voice can
be heard on "Mother Necessity," "Figure Eight" and "Unpack Your Adjectives."
Her distinctive voice can also be heard on soundtracks of several films
including, "Kissing Jessica Stein," "My Life," "Without Me," "The Squid and the
Whale" and "The Adventures of Felix." She also recorded with several musicians
including Bob Dorough and Lyle Lovett.
In 2007, Australian singer Kylie Minogue said that Blossom Dearie was one of
her strongest influences.
Her musical sensibilities were always rooted in jazz as well as popular
song, but her voice and style were uniquely hers ("chic, sleek and squeaky-clean,
a voice in a million" said Leonard Feather in the Los Angeles Times). She
often toured in Europe, Australia and across the globe performing her
light-hearted, fanciful and funny songs for sophisticated audiences. Her very special
repertoire ranged from Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and Hart and Johnny Mercer
favorites to comic gems by John Wallowitch and Dave Frishberg and many
romantic ballads she composed herself to lyrics by Jack Segal.
Early in her New York Career she recorded six albums for Norman Granz's
Verve. The following four have been re-released: "Blossom Dearie," "Once Upon A
Summertime," Give Him The Ooh-La-La," and "Sings Comden and Green," and "Verve
Jazz Masters 51: Blossom Dearie."
Since 2002, "Soubrette Sings Broadway Hit Songs," and "My Gentleman Friend."
have been available on her Daffodil Records. Rex Reed called her "one of New
York's treasures," in the New York Observer, while Rogers Whittaker of The
New Yorker asserted that her performances range "from the meticulous to the
sublime." And Blossom always said about her songs, "They appeal to all ages."
She is survived by a brother named Barney from New York State. Funeral plans
have not been announced.
Report in Memphis Online that Hank Crawford has sadly passed away :
Memphian Played with R&B Greats
Saxophonist's roots in Manassas High
The evocative, blues-influenced playing of Memphis jazz great Hank
Crawford colored the saxophonist's own albums and the work of many
others, most notably Ray Charles.
Born and raised in Memphis, Bennie Ross "Hank" Crawford Jr. was a
childhood prodigy who first flashed his musical gifts in church.
As a student at Manassas High School, he was a member of the school's
band, The Rhythm Bombers. Manassas proved a hothouse atmosphere: Mr.
Crawford's classmates included future jazz greats George Coleman,
Harold Mabern and Charles Lloyd.
Mr. Crawford died Thursday at his home. He was 74.
Delores Crawford said her brother had been in declining health for the
past year, dealing with the long-term effects of a stroke he suffered
Although Mr. Crawford made a return to the stage in 2003, he had not
performed publicly in several years.
In the late '40s and early '50s, Mr. Crawford was part of the thriving
Mid-South dance band scene, serving as a member of outfits led by Ben
Branch, Tuff Green, Al Jackson Sr. and Ike Turner, and backing up then-
fledgling artists like B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland.
After high school, Mr. Crawford moved to Nashville, where he studied
music at Tennessee State University and cut R&B records on the side.
It was in Nashville that Mr. Crawford first crossed paths with Ray
Charles. He joined Charles' band in 1959 and eventually became its
musical director before leaving to form his own sextet in 1963.
Mr. Crawford's recording career was distinguished and adventurous. He
cut a series of critically acclaimed albums for Atlantic throughout
the '60s, and later explored fusion and funk on the Kudu label in the
'70s, before taking a back-to-roots jazz direction in the '80s.
Over the years, Mr. Crawford also remained an in-demand sideman,
working with a range of artists including Etta James, Lou Rawls, Jimmy
McGriff and Dr. John.
Although he spent much of his adult life based in New York City and
touring Europe, Mr. Crawford returned to Memphis in 2000 after his
stroke to recuperate with his family. He spent his remaining years
splitting time between the Big Apple and his hometown.
Mr. Crawford's death comes just over a week after the passing of his
longtime collaborator David "Fathead" Newman. The two horn players
were, for many years, the backbone of Charles' band.
Mr. Crawford also leaves a son, Michael Crawford; a daughter, Sherri
Crawford; a granddaughter, Tiffany Crawford, and six siblings. Funeral
arrangements are pending.
By Bob Mehr