Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Inspires

Blossom Dearie photo BlossomDearie_zps2c525bc0.jpg Anita O'Day photo anita-o-day_zps0a7094d1.jpg
Billie Holiday photo Billie-Holiday_zpse8008c95.jpg Sarah Vaughan photo sarah-vaughan_zpsfd38b59f.jpg
Clockwise: Blossom Dearie; Anita O'Day; Sarah Vaughan; and Billie Holiday.

This week, we ushered in Spring, even if much of the United States is still wrapped in colder temperatures, and even some snow. But I thought I would welcome the season, and maybe inspire a bit of warm weather with some songs about Spring, sung by some of the finest vocalists I can find. And I will start with the adorable and charming Blossom Dearie as she sings "Spring In Manhattan", a song written by Anthony Scibetta. It was off the 1976 album 'My New Celebrity Is You'. I love the way Blossom takes on the song, with a light and airy approach.

I am such a huge fan of Anita O'Day, and still listen to her often. She has her own style, and a voice that not only sounds great, but also has a beautiful edge to it. Anita's battles with drugs and alcohol were noted, but I think that also colored her voice in some wonderful ways. For this post, I picked out her singing a duet with Cal Tajder, a great pianist of the day, from the 1962 album they released, 'Time For Two'. They did an amazing job with Frank Loesser's "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year". The song first appeared as part of the soundtrack of the 1944 film, 'Christmas Holiday'.

If you are putting together a list of great singers, you can certainly never leave off the great Lady Day, Miss Billie Holiday. She recorded "Some Other Spring" for her 1956 album, 'Lady Sings The Blues'. The song was written by Arthur Herzog, Jr. and Irene Kitchings. Herzog collaberated several times with Billie, including writing her iconic song, "God Bless The Child", with her. But this is Billie singing "Some Other Spring".

I think Sarah Vaughan is an amazing talent, and vastly underrated. The things she could make her voice do is amazing. It often feels like her voice is truly another instrument, adding musical depth to whatever she sings. I picked her singing "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most", a song written in 1955, with lyrics by Fran Landesman and music by Tommy Wolf. It was included on the 1963 album 'Snowbound', surrounded by some truly amazing Jazz songs.

Happy Spring, everyone!

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