music: Blossom Dearie swings coolly, perfectly

Lo-fi but enchanting, maybe the best piano+female vocal I’ve heard

At 0:39 the way she trills “surrey-with” and echoes the vibrato moments later in “fringe” is magic.  From 1:35 on her swung notes in winking, blinking, if-yur thinkin’ is right up there with Fred Astaire’s “Let the rain pitter-patter but it doesn’t really matter” on Isn’t This a Lovely Day. And her phrasing of the lines at 3:52 is sublime.

The performance is from the Jack Paar show in 1958. I’m so in love with it I ordered a DVD of the show, but sadly the DVD’s audio quality isn’t much better. There’s another version of this Irving Berlin song on her album Once Upon a Summertime, but it somehow lacks the magic and has a redundant guitar part.

“Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.” (Shakespeare’s The Tempest)

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