Julia Lee

Kansas City's First Lady of the Blues

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Julia Lee, a talented singer and pianist from Kansas City, first recorded in the 1920s with her brother George E. Lee's Orchestra, plus two titles of her own. She continued working in Kansas City through the decades, not recording again until 1944, when she signed with Capital. This two-CD set has all of her 1944-1947 studio recordings (other than alternates and a few unreleased performances later released by Bear Family) and features her in peak form. Lee, who became known for her slightly risqué numbers, was actually a well-rounded swing pianist and singer, and these 48 selections find her performing blues, standards, and some originals. Her backup musicians are quite impressive, featuring mostly local musicians but also including pianist Jay McShann (on the first two numbers), bassist Walter Page, tenor saxophonist Henry Bridges, trumpeter Karl George, trombonist Vic Dickenson, altoist Benny Carter (who is also heard on his only recordings on trombone), trumpeter Bobby Sherwood, vibraphonist Red Norvo, and cornetist Red Nichols. Among the many highlights are "Lotus Blossom" (heard in two versions), "A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid," "Mama Don't Allow It," "Ain't It a Crime," "King Size Papa," and "The Spinach Song." Highly recommended.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
feat: Jay McShann
2:53 Spotify
2
feat: Jay McShann
2:55 Spotify
3 2:55 Spotify
4 3:02 Spotify
5 3:19 Spotify
6 3:05 Spotify
7 2:37 Spotify
8 2:57 Spotify
9 2:50 Spotify
10 2:43 Spotify
11 2:54 Spotify
12 2:46 Spotify
13 2:53 Spotify
14
feat: Benny Carter
2:46 Spotify
15 3:01 Spotify
16 2:48 Spotify
17 2:36 Spotify
18 2:43 Spotify
19 2:56 Spotify
20 2:41 Spotify
21 3:05 Spotify
22 2:48 Spotify
23 2:50 Spotify
24
2:40 Spotify

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:57 Spotify
2 3:06 Spotify
3 3:08 Spotify
4 3:20 Spotify
5 3:03 Spotify
6 3:01 Spotify
7 3:03 Spotify
8 2:57 Spotify
9 3:00 Spotify
10 2:31 Spotify
11 2:47 Spotify
12 2:42 Spotify
13 3:09 Spotify
14 2:50 Spotify
15 2:46 Spotify
16 2:59
17 3:00 Spotify
18 2:50 Spotify
19 2:48 Spotify
20 2:39 Spotify
21 3:03 Spotify
22 3:11 Spotify
23 2:57 Spotify
24 2:51 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick