Maria Muldaur, vocals; Danny Caron, guitar; David Torkanowsky, piano; Jim Rothermel, alto and tenor saxes, clarinet, flute; Jeff Lewis, trumpet; Kevin Porter, trombone, bass trombone; Neal Caine, bass; Arthur Lalin II, drums; Gerry Grosz, vibes
Those were the days of ten-inch LPs. There was a picture of Sinatra being moody under a lamppost, June Christy offering Something Cool, and a just as equally Cool and Crazy from Shorty Rogers. And among them all on my racks, rapidly getting worn out, was Black Coffee. I still don't know who played those squalling trumpet solos on the album, backing Peggy Lee who delivered a recording that placed her Jazz credentials beyond all debate.
Maria Muldaur doesn't just play tribute here, she has found a way to remind us of Peggy Lee without slavishly copying her. And the longer this CD plays the easier she slips into her own groove and allows her own beguiling voice to give vent to her way of doing these tunes, and there is also a gorgeous lilt to her phrasing. By the time you get to Maria's "Black Coffee" (track 9), you realize that this is one individual voice with a bewitching and being British I shall have to guess southern inflection. This version is an absolute knockout. The guys in the band are more than supportive, because they were required to not only swing but to also enhance the sultry bits when Maria really gets into it. "A Woman Alone With The Blues" leans heavily on the original, but, again, Maria takes it at her own pace and imbues it with a fresh perspective. I just love this woman's voice and I'm really happy to add this one to my collection.
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