Peggy Lee Band / Peggy Lee

The Peggy Lee Band

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An unusual band, for several reasons. First, it is led by a cellist, and a female one at that (both, incredibly, still unusual at the turn of the 21st century). Second, the three stringed instruments plus two brass and percussion give the "band" an unusual, chamber-like sound, even with the electric bass and electric guitar. While this is indefinable stylistically, it does combine elements of free jazz, chamber music, and even rock. Often, there is a mournful quality, and the tempos tend to be snail-ish. The end results are compellingly attractive, though, all the more so considering the fine musicianship. Brad Turner, in particular, is a pleasure on trumpet, with jabs and slurps that always seem to concentrate on a tonal or structured center. Lee composed all the tunes, and she always maintains interest with fascinating harmonic changes. Tony Wilson is a blast on electric guitar, where he shoots forth rapidly virtuosic lines. The arrangements are surprisingly accessible, and if there is a criticism it is that the pieces sometimes lack focus. Considering the overall effect, this is a minor inconvenience, and whether it is Dylan van der Schyff's brilliant drums or Lee's melodic strings, the refreshingly unique sounds impress and entertain.

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