JVC Jazz Festival
There'll Be Another Spring
A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee
By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jackie Cain, Ann Hampton Calloway, Peter Cincotti, Petula Clark, Freddy Cole, Cy Coleman, Eric Comstock, Chris Connor, Deborah Harry, Shirley Horn, Marian McPartland, Ronnie Milsap, Jane Monheit,
Rita Moreno, Maria Muldaur, Nancy Sinatra,
Corky Hale, Mike Stoller
Mike Rienzi (Piano), Bucky Pizzarelli (Guitar), Jay Leonhart (Bass), and Grady Tate (Drums) and Orchestra
Produced by Richard Barone
Proceeds to Society of Singers
Performed at Carnegie Hall
881 Seventh Avenue
NY, NY 10019
Publicity by Festival Productions
Charles Bourgeois, Director
June 23, 2003
This was a very special tribute to a very classy lady. Her family and friends were so important to her, and through spoken adulations and film clips, as well as still photos with voice-overs, Peggy Lee's music, so whispery and so sensual, was recalled and revered. Musicians who have appeared on this site were in abundance onstage: Mike Rienzi, Music Director of this event, Bucky Pizzarelli, Jay Leonhart (See Birdland Barbara Carroll Review), Grady Tate, and Harry Allen was spotted on saxophone. Mike Stoller and Quincy Jones were seen either live or on video in the presentation of accolades to Miss Lee.
The film clips of Miss Lee singing with Frank Sinatra (whose daughter, in high black boots, was first to sing), with Ella Fitzgerald, with Jack Benny, with Nat King Cole, with Doris Day, with Tony Bennett, with Dean Martin, and with Bing Crosby were remarkably poignant, as well as entertaining. Ms. Sinatra, all sequins and boots, diamonds and fringe, was well received by the sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Miss Lee's daughter then reminisced with media assistance about her mother's hobbies in pottery and painting.
Much of Miss Lee's musical repertoire was represented, with warm and rousing renditions, including Maņana, Lover, Don't Smoke In Bed, Fever, I'm A Woman, New York City Blues, and Black Coffee, which was belted out in a bluesy fashion by Dee Dee Bridgewater, an obvious favorite, who sported a black boa and a long, black glittery dress. In the absence of Bea Arthur, who was ill at the last moment, Eric Comstock, who had beautifully sung I'm In Love Again, then endearingly filled in for Ms. Arthur with Big Spender and The Shining Sea (along with Corky Hale). Mr. Comstock has a rare combination of vocal virtuosity and stage presence, so critical in a large venue, such as Carnegie Hall.
Freddy Cole was soft and seasoned in I Don't Know Enough About You. Marian McPartland, whom I used to hear on piano at the Cookery, many years ago, was joined by vocalist, Jackie Cain, for In The Days Of Our Love. It was a touching moment, when Shirley Horn, disabled by illness, sang Miss Lee's signature song, There'll Be Another Spring, with reverence and softness. Cy Coleman, in great shape, played piano and sang The Best Is Yet To Come, one of my longtime favorites. Rita Moreno had a wonderful energy level and commanded the stage with a strong, clear voice, with tremendous range, holding notes forever, in New York City Blues.
Petula Clark, in Things Are Swingin', was sexy and sassy, with a dynamic British affect. A Medley of Miss Lee's songs, composed for the Disney film, Lady and the Tramp, were glowingly highlighted on film and onstage by Nancy Sinatra and Deborah Harry. The finale, sung by the entire Ensemble, was Is That All There Is, another signature piece, and Oh, so relevant to such a remarkable production. Kudos to JVC Festival Productions for this wonderful event.