Jump for Joy

Peggy Lee

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Jump for Joy Review

by Richard Mortifoglio

The powers that be at Capitol-EMI haven't been as thorough with their Peggy Lee reissues as they have been with, say, June Christy (a much less commercially successful artist), not to mention Frank Sinatra or Nat "King" Cole. Luckily, in 2009, the DRG label saw fit to put out domestic U.S. reissues of the previously unavailable THE MAN I LOVE and JUMP FOR JOY, from 1957 and 1958 respectively, complete with two bonus tracks each and informative liner notes by JAZZ SINGING author Will Friedwald.

JUMP FOR JOY, Peggy Lee's second (and last) album with Nelson Riddle arrangements, was conceived as the extroverted, swinging follow-up to THE MAN I LOVE (which was itself produced and conducted by none other than Sinatra himself to mark her return to Capitol Records after a five-year absence). At the very least, it succeeded in securing Lee's status on the label with its solid production, classy arrangements, and, of course, her own masterful singing. JOY is also notable for including a number of older tunes from the '20s and '30s--songs like "Back In Your Own Backyard," the Boswell Sisters' "When My Sugar Walks Down The Street," "Aint We Got Fun," Billie Holiday's "What A Little Moonlight Can Do," and Fred Astaire's "Cheek To Cheek." Far from making the album something of a novelty session--both Lee and Riddle can make any material sound fresh and contemporary, anyway--they only add to the bright, insouciant mood the singer and her arranger are trying to establish here. Apart from Sinatra's SONGS FOR SWINGIN' LOVERS! and A SWINGIN' AFFAIR!, these are some of Nelson Riddle's most hard-swinging charts, the brass sounding particularly forceful in the superb stereo recording. Of course, it all comes down to Peggy Lee's equally superb vocals--she has never sounded more confident or more in charge, as she looks forward to a renewed and successful association with the label where she first became a major star.

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