Why I Love Lee
As for many others, Peggy Lee’s sulty and laid back voice has been a companion and joy throughout my whole life starting in childhood with her songs from Lady and the Tramp, followed by the haunting Johnny Guitar and rousing Fever. As a young adult, I was lucky enough to work on the reissue of many of her Capitol albums at EMI records and became totally immersed in her music for several years.
Peggy Lee was born in 1920 and died in 2002 after an unprecedented 60-year career at the top of her trade. Duke Ellington called her ''the Queen”. Tony Bennett said she was “the female Frank Sinatra”. Her phrasing and sense of timing and rhythm are unequalled; Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, Shirley Horne and many other vocalists quote her as their greatest influence.
Her greatest skill - like all truly great singers - was her ability to communicate and to connect with the audience, to make them think she was singing just to them.
But what makes her really irresistible is her unique delivery, mixing genuine emotion and a kind of ironic detachment that could reveal the most hidden meaning in any lyric and infuse it with sensuality and humor alike. She made the songs come alive and I guess that’s why I love Lee so much.
I’m thrilled and proud to have the opportunity to record my favorite standards from her songbook and particularly to include several of her own lyrics, on a par with the best lyricists of her time.