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August 2008

Peggy Lee
All Aglow Again
Collectors' Choice

Collector’s Choice, which has recently reissued nearly the entire Nat “King” Cole Capitol catalog of the 1950s and early ’60s (with an emphasis on Cole’s cheerful ballad and pop singing), has now launched a Peggy Lee series. All Aglow Again spotlights Lee’s singles from the late 1950s, Make It With You/Where Did They Go reissues a pair of middle-of-the-road albums from 1970-71, and Then Was Then, Now Is Now/Bridge Over Troubled Water brings back LPs from 1965 and 1970 that mix together standards and then-current pop tunes. But of greatest interest to jazz listeners is the two-CD The Lost ’40s & ’50s Capitol Masters. The 39 selections, 13 previously unreleased, feature Lee during 1944-52, when she was more jazz-oriented than in later years and becoming a major influence on cool-toned female singers. She is mostly accompanied by orchestras led by her husband, guitarist Dave Barbour, though there are also meetings with Louis Prima, Mel Tormé, Benny Goodman, Johnny Mercer, arranger Pete Rugolo and, on the opening “Ain’t Goin’ No Place,” the Capitol Jazzman. But why is no listing of the personnel included or at least mentions of the many soloists? That reservation aside, this set (which features Lee in her early prime on rare singles) is highly recommended.

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Peggy Lee

Originally published in August 2008
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