David Amram's Blossom Memorial
Blossom was not only an outstanding performer with a unique style all her own.
She was also a vertiible encyclopedia of American popular music, and was always anxious to share songs with all of us.
We first met in 1955 in Paris when she was with Bobby Jaspar, with whom I played. I saw them almost every day.
Their apartment was filled with sheet music, of songs from the 1920s through the latest music written by friends.
She had a repetoire of hundreds of songs and was always learning new ones, including ones she never sang but always played for friends.
And she would show you songs she thought might be good for you to play.
“Hey man. listen to these chord changes and how the lyrics are constructed” she would say, like a pixieish professor, in that unmistakable high tiny voice that made you always pay extra attention.
Even though she was so easy going and sweet to everyone, she was really serious about what she did, and a real perfectionist. She never criticised others. She just tuned out all trash and concentrated on what her perfect instincts told her was important.
One night in 1957 at Jean Bach’s place in the Village in NYC, there was a party and reception Jean gave for Andre Previn, but when Andre got tied up and couldn’t arrive until after midnight, Blossom and Annie Ross sang duets together for almost two hours until Andre arrived, and they were fantastic.
In a room full of people who had come to see him, Andre joined us and asked her to continue, as we listened to them for another hour. Blossom and Annie lit up the room.
Blossom spent her whole life lighting up rooms, doing the music she loved, and always made it clear that she loved doing it.
And she always found the time to share a smile as she greeted every musician (male or female) with a “Hey, man.” , even at 2 a.m. when she was playing in a place with an out of tune piano. poor sound system and no audience except for the few musicians who came in after work just to hear her.
She never complained because she knew how good she was, and she always created her own Carnegie Hall wherever she went.
She was beloved by several generations of musicians as well as other singers, and had a loyal audience in the USA and Europe who could never get enough of her special gifts, as well as her warmth and far out sense of humor.
We will all miss her.
Feb 8 2009
Copied with Permission of the Author All rights Reserved.
Dave Frishberg's Blossom Blurb
Not only did Dave write songs that Blossom performed (and are included in the first songbook), he was her neighbor in the West Village as well as performing a two-piano act with her in the early 1980’s.
He is quoted here in a letter to Chicagoland’s accordian playing child prodigy musician; Len DeMichele:
Blossom was a skilled singer, and the sound of her voice rang with authority and confidence. Her piano playing had the same qualities. She could play softer than anybody, and still be emphatic. Both singing and playing, Blossom was a totally unique musician.