Peggy Lee Band / Peggy Lee

Worlds Apart

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AllMusic Review by

Peggy Lee's third album with her band adds little to her writing style, but it perfects it to a new level. Picking up where Sounds from the Big House had left, the album showcases even more assured writing and a group of musicians completely attuned to each other. Except for bassist Andre Lechance replacing Chris Tarry, the lineup remains the same. Brad Turner's trumpet is still the lyrical asset of the ensemble; Tony Wilson's discreet guitar work provides the mellow, slightly sad moods; Jeremy Berkman's trombone and Lee's cello join in beautiful melodic dialogues (especially in "Soft Scrape"); Dylan van der Schyff lays down flexible rhythms and flourishes of percussive ornaments. Talking Pictures' guitarist, Ron Samworth, joins in on four of the album's nine cuts. The first two pieces, "Worlds Apart" and "Soft Scrape," stand out as two of the group's best recordings. Seguing, these pieces encompass its range, from a tightly written vamp to tender melodies and freely improvised passages. "Spells" features a folky acoustic guitar intro, while "Old One Knows" (penned by Wilson) provides a quiet guitar interlude. "A Door" once again surfs the waters of this particular brand of seductive Vancouver avant-garde jazz (think Talking Pictures and Ben Monder, but also Montreal's NOMA), while "Lookout" ends the proceedings with a nicely chiseled trumpet-led ballad. Even at its most vehement, Lee's music is never muscular or virtuosic. She focuses on moods, pretty yet challenging melodies, and cross-stylistic arrangements that evolve from within jazz but ooze out of its avant end. And on this album she does it better than before, albeit not differently. Recommended.

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