c monster

March 16, 2012

When I was a sophomore in college, I accidentally killed Blossom Dearie. I don’t know if it was because I had “The Doodlin’ Song” on repeat or what, but the universe couldn’t take it and she dropped dead shortly after I fell in love with her.  It was a real bummer because I thought she’d broken the curse. Every time I’d discovered a musician or actor that I was really fond of, soon after I’d find out that they’d already died. Surely my affections had caused their demise. I figured I should just stop liking people so they’d stay alive forever. (Solipsism hard at work.)

Blossom Dearie was the first jazz singer from the same era of all of my other favorite jazz singers that had managed to escape my death sentence, until I killed her. It was a sad few months after that. No amount of “Give Him the Ooh-La-La” would make me feel better.

The next person I accidentally offed was Phoebe Snow. As soon as I made a point to see her live, she had a severe stroke that left her largely incapacitated and passed away a year later. What a damn shame. Seriously. Not only was she a really fine musician; I later learned that she basically quit the industry to take care of her mentally disabled child. (Who died a few years before she did.) Phoebe Snow was a standup human.

To counteract this awful pattern I seem to have when it comes to singers I enjoy– I tried liking singers I didn’t enjoy. Sound is still coming out of Taylor Swift, so clearly that didn’t work.

My latest curse conquest (again, Mrs. Solipsism to your left) is the multitalented and super fabulous Cheryl Bentyne of the Manhattan Transfer. I’m thankful that my love for her amazing pipes and phenomenal phrasing wasn’t enough to kill her– because I, along with anyone else who has ears would be devastated. Unfortunately though, my punkass gave her cancer. (Say it with me: So-Lip-Sis-M.)

On the bright side, after reading her blog, my love for her has like, quintupled. (Let’s hope it doesn’t have dire consequences.) Not only did she quote 30Rock, and freak out about being a faux redhead like Lucille Ball; she said when she lost all her hair that her goal was to be the Diane Keaton of jazz and get a ton of floppy hats. THEN SHE USED A MILLION EXCLAMATION POINTS AND I’M PRETTY SURE SHE ACCIDENTALLY GAVE ME UP FOR ADOPTION BECAUSE– HOLY CRAP.

I went to go see ManTran sing at Tarrytown a bazillion years ago, (pretty sure I was still mourning the loss of Blossom), and while I was stalking Janis Siegel after the show, I ran into Cheryl and was a bumbling mess of awkward.

“You guys. Are. The best singers. EVER.”

She then pulled me in for a hug.

It was amazing.

According to her blog and Janis’ facebook, she’s doing much better. Still, send a prayer to the jazz gods to protect everyone from my fandom. In all seriousness though– praise be to all things holy. Cheryl Bentyne is the high priestess of sopranos and I’m glad she’s feeling better! Hope she gets to finally tune up her cello : )

Man, she phrases like McRae.  Meet Benny Bailey is the boss applesauce– her solo is in the middle. Jam on this, cats!


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