Correspondence: Frishberg On Dearie And Evans

Dave Frishberg writes with important information on a matter raised in the previous entry. 

I’m reading the Rifftides discussion about Blossom Dearie and Bill Evans, and who influenced who. I’d like to add my comment:
During the late sixties I played a couple weeks solo opposite the Bill Evans Trio at the Village Gate on Bleecker St, and had some conversations with Bill. I asked him how he came upon his piled-fourths voicing of chords, and his immediate answer was that he heard Blossom Dearie play that way and it really knocked him out. Then he did a little rave review of Blossom, naming her as one of his models of piano playing. It was such a surprising response that I never forgot it.

Dearie.jpgThumbnail image for Frishberg.jpgThumbnail image for Evans.jpg

A decade or so later Blossom and I were doing a two-piano act, and I got to see what he was talking about. Blossom showed me some voicings she was using,  and then I sat down at the same piano and tried them out but it didn’t sound like Blossom. I told her, “It sounds better when you do it.”  She said, “Oh well, I know this piano, I’m used to it.” The truth is she seemed to get her special sound out of any piano. Also, she could play softer than anyone I ever heard. The accompaniment she gave herself was all carefully composed, and she played it note for note every night.  Why not? It was perfect.

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  1. Jon Foley says

    If Bill Evans said it, and Dave Frishberg still says it, that just reinforces what I’ve always thought – Blossom Dearie was just about…perfect. Every once in a while, you run across an artist whose performances make you think – that couldn’t have been done better, by anyone. She was one; one of the few. I’m glad I was alive to hear her – alas, never in person, but still, I lived in the right time.