The Peggy Lee Band
Exquisite! Peggy Lee delivers a series of finely crafted compositions of rich and sonorous beauty, played by a crew of musicians blessed with unusual depth and empathy.
What the critics are saying:
"Not so long ago, the cello was one instrument left out on the doorstep of jazz, if not most improvised musics. But times have changed! Indeed, this instrument's role has blossomed in recent years and who cannot acknowledge the sterling artistry of Ernst Reijsiger, the equally remarkable playing of Eric Friedlander, even the sheer resourcefulness of the late Tom Cora? To this growing list, one must equally include the now Vancouver resident, Peggy Lee …"
—Marc Chenard, Program notes for the 1999 Festival Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville
"With her ddeply sonorous instrument in hand, Lee has more-than-shared the stage with creative improvisors from all over the world: Joelle Leandre, Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser, Susie Ibarra, and Barre Phillips to name but a few. Her playing blends grace and precision, yet when the music demands it she can be equally challenging and vibrant. "
—Jon Morgan, Signal to Noise
"She can scrape and stridulate as required, but her cello playing also grants due place to clarity of line and sweetness of tone. Both aspects of Lee's musical character inform her compositions and their performance by an entirely sympathetic sextet."
—Julian Cowley, The Wire
"As a jazz cellist, Lee is almost in a league of her own... Devoted to her own compositions, this disc will only increase her profile - it's a stunner. [The group] execute the lush material with nearly-telepathic ensemble playing. Hear tunes from one of the year's best jazz records ..."
—Stuart Derdeyn, The Province
"This self-titled album on Spool Records' improv series is a masterwork of skill and innovation. The music is a blend of pop, classical and jazz, but in the most original manner I've heard. She's helped out by other great musicians, especially Brad Turner on trumpet and flugelhorn and Jeremy Berkman on trombone. Both stimulating and relaxing."
—Lara, Pop Boffin
"The musicians devote themselves to exploring every facet of Lee's complex and evocative compositions; from Wilson's scratchy free-play to Turner's burnished lines, their solo statements are wonderfully personal, but always bear some relationship to the source material at hand. And Lee's tunes are as distinctive as her own rich cello sound: drawing on the jazz avant garde, contemporary chamber sounds, folk music, and even rock, they ebb and flow with an almost oceanic grace ..."
—Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight
"Vancouver is a hotbed of improvised music, with one of its most interesting experimenters being this sextet led by cellist Peggy Lee which draws from different genres -- modern trumpeter Brad Turner, electric bass funkster Chris Tarry and avant garde percussionist Dylan van der Schyff, for example. With trombonist Jeremy Berkman and Tony Wilson's electric guitar adding fierce "outside" forays, the Lee compositions veer between wild extravagance and spacey deconstruction, and sometimes examine futuristic group dynamics."
—Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star
"Cellist Peggy Lee is a musician whose every phrase seems to contain fresh inspiration. An adept reader and improvisor, she is ever popular with musicians because of the consistent artistic integrity she brings to music. She is popular with Vancouver audiences because of the warmth and sincerity she projects through music. It is hard to slot The Peggy Lee Band into any kind of musical category, a mark of excellence that makes me give this CD the highest recommendation to music lovers."
—Laurence M. Svirchev, Planet Jazz
"Perhaps the most effective trait Lee shows on this debut recording is her scope as an arranger. She positions the various textures in her band to great effect and combines instruments to create rich tapestries of sound...This sumptuous recording will introduce listeners to the depth of exciting contemporary music being created in Vancouver."
—James Halle, Ottawa Citizen
"Lee has won an international following for the strength and beauty of her improvisational style: she's fearless and sweet, just as likely to sing her heart out in a rhapsodic melody as she is to plunge headfirst into a gnarly exploration of knotty chords...Lee's compositional style is just as adventurous and diverse...her particular compositional gift is evinced in the way her pieces flow, as if in a dream, from one form to another. Her melodies slide in and out of abstraction; skewed marches butt up against folksongs; chamber-music niceties crumble under the assault of funk and psychedelia… Lee plunders all the musical resources available to her, but always in the service of emotional exploration."
—Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight
"Since Peggy Lee and Dylan van der Schyff's cd, "These Are Our Shoes" was my favorite cd of 1998, The Peggy Lee Band was a natural choice for kicking off the [Du Maurier Vancouver International Jazz] festival for me. My expectations were high, and I was not disappointed. Lee's playing is always both sensitive and passionate, and she's aligned herself here with some of the best musicians in Vancouver… A definite festival highlight."
—David MacLeod, The Jazz Asylum