Down Beat - 9/23/535 Stars
- Excellent - "...Here is the true Peggy. Warm, personal, Holidayish, sexy, and as un-'Lover'-like as you could wish. Or, when the occasion demands it, fiery, swinging, with a beat few can beat...."
Personnel: Peggy Lee (vocals); Bill Pitman (guitar); Stella Castellucci (harp); Pete Candoli (trumpet); Jimmy Rowles, Lou Levy (piano); Larry Bunker (vibraphone, drums, percussion); Max Wayne, Buddy Clark (double bass); Ed Shaughnessy (drums).
Liner Note Author: Will Friedwald.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using 24-bit technology.
Peggy Lee's BLACK COFFEE is a consummate jazz vocal album. Here, Lee's singing generates many emotions at once. For example, few vocalists can convey such vulnerability and strength at the same time. However, Lee's approach never comes across as forced or strained. And it is certainly not complex; her tone resounds with purity and cool passion with every phrase. The musical accompaniment is also outstanding. The elegant piano stylings of Jimmy Rowles, or, alternately, Lou Levy bring great refinement to the proceedings. In contrast, the bluesy musings of trumpeter Pete Candoli infuse this album with a kind of raw, smoky flavor.
"A Woman Alone with the Blues" is one of the most stunning tracks on BLACK COFFEE. A languid ballad about heartache, Lee exacts the pain that loneliness and loss can bring. "You're My Thrill" is another goose-bump track. On this tune, Lee sings with all the coyness of a wooing suitor. Overall, the sheer intimacy and bubbling intensity of this record will enwrap the listener.