Connie Evingson

Fever: A Tribute to Peggy Lee

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It's a daunting task to record a tribute album to a legend like Peggy Lee, if for no other reason than every song will be compared to the original, but Minneapolis-based Connie Evingson does it, and does it well. While she uses similar arrangements, she doesn't try to sound like Lee. Her voice is deep and sultry like Lee's, but it's also somewhat lighter. To her credit, Evingson's tribute is not only to songs that Lee sang, but to those she wrote, reminding us that the multi-talented Lee was also a composer of some note. Most of the tunes on the album are familiar Lee fare. On "Black Coffee," Dave Karr's tenor sax assumes the role that Conte Candoli's muted trumpet played on the 1953 release. "It's a Good Day," written with former husband, guitarist Dave Barbour, was a big pop hit for Lee in 1947. Evingson's version features some outstanding guitar work by Reuben Ristrom. While Evingson brings her own style to these tunes, on "Fever," she pretty much follows Lee's finger-poppin' tom-tom arrangement. Another Lee classic, the sardonic "Is That All There Is?," is one of the album's highlights; Karr's flute is prominent on this cut. The Duke Ellington-Lee composition "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'" is the album's barnburner, with Karr's sax swinging at a frenetic pace behind Evingson. Despite the fast pace, though, they never lose their place, and Evingson's diction remains crisp. Things slow down considerably on "Where Can I Go Without You?" On this tune more than any, Evingson shows that she has a style all her own. Featuring a set of fine Minneapolis musicians, this album is not only a tribute to the inestimable brilliance of Peggy Lee, but also to the singing talent of Connie Evingson.

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