Saturday, October 07, 2006

Peggy Lee

Having spent my [past] youth in a provincial city in the Soviet Russia, I learnt about many western artists quite recently. Of course, I have known about Ella Fitzgerald and Louise Armstrong for ages, but Peggy Lee became my discovery just a few years ago. I do not know how popular is she in the States now - perhaps in the age of Britney Spears & Justin Timberlake, there is no need for a jazz virtuoso.

When I had bought first CD of her songs, I was not impressed at listening: the music seemed too minimalistic and low, modern ears spoilt by noise and cacophony needed time to adjust to this unhurried intimacy.

Norma Dolores Egstrom was born on May 26, 1920, in Jamestown, North Dakota. The life of this beautiful woman was permanent pain and trouble - no surprise, with classical square Sun-Saturn. Severe falls, four divorces (Venus on Algol!), courts, multiple diseases - that's the price of the talent and fame:

Frankly, Ella, who was my favourite for many years, now sounds a bit simple compared with this voice, which is neither especially strong nor wide. Listen how nicely she could swing. The melancholic elegance of her singing, her accurate phrasing and fine dramatic nuances have caught me. She is indeed my Jazz Lady Number One.

There'll be no new romance for me,
It's foolish to start,
When that old, old feeling
Is still in my heart...