By Brian Zimmerman | Published August 2017
Australian bassist-vocalist Nicki Parrott is no stranger to performing with jazz giants. As an up-and-coming artist on the scene, she’s studied with trailblazers of her instrument, such as Ray Brown and John Clayton. An apprenticeship with bass stalwart Rufus Reid soon followed. Then, with her career surging, she was tapped by none other than Les Paul to perform at his regular Monday-night sessions at Iridium.
For her latest album, Parrott engages with a vocal legend of jazz past: Blossom Dearie. It’s a tribute of sparkling endearment and somber reverence, with moods that alternate between smoke and sunshine. A sprightly, bossa-infused “I Wish You Love” launches the disc with levity and grace, while “Devil And The Deep Blue Sea,” “Rhode Island Is Famous For You” and “I’m Hip” (with modern references to Twitter and Instagram) entrench it firmly in swing. Meanwhile, “I Walk A Little Faster” and “Dear Blossom” are elegant turns through balladry and render Parrott’s sweet, amiable voice with pronounced clarity and splendor.
Dear Blossom: I Wish You Love; Everything I've Got Belongs To You; I Walk A Little Easier; Peel Me A Grape; Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; Dear Blossom; I'm Hip; Tout Doucement; Try Your Wings; Surrey With The Fringe On Top; Rhode Island Is Famous For You; It Amazes Me; It Might As Well Be Spring. (58:02)
Personnel: Nicki Parrott, vocals, bass; Chris Grasso, piano; Chuck Redd, vibes; Lenny Robinson, drums; Warren Vache, cornet; Engelbert Wrobel, clarinet, tenor saxophone; Vince Cherico, percussion.