- New CD includes two Lee compositions that have never been recorded.
- Featuring special guest John Pizzarelli with Ted Rosenthal, Tim Horner, Martin Wind, and Bob Mann.
- Available February 10, 2023 on Palmetto Records. Click here to stream the focus tracks. Click here to pre-order.
With her artist legacy series, pop/jazz vocalist and songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway paid homage to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan on two critically acclaimed CDs while staying true to her artistic aesthetic. Callaway continues that series with Fever: A Peggy Lee Celebration!, which highlights the songwriting talents of Lee, who wrote or co-wrote over 270 songs in her lifetime, and features two of Lee’s compositions that have never before been recorded. One, a poem written by Lee titled “Clair de Lune,” Callaway composed music for; the other, a premiere of “The Other Part of Me,” a song written by Lee and Paul Horner for the 1983 autobiographical Broadway musical Peg. Featured on two tracks is special guest John Pizzarelli, another connection to Lee, whose favorite guitar player, after her husband, Dave Barbour, was John’s father, Bucky Pizzarelli.
The recording came on the heels of Callaway’s show, Fever: The Peggy Lee Century, a 100th birthday celebration of the singer at the New York City supper club 54 Below for which she just received a Broadway World nomination for Best Celebrity Show.
Callaway comes from an artistic background — her parents were John Callaway, a legendary TV and radio journalist, and Shirley Callaway, a pianist, performer and revered voice teacher. She writes in her liner notes: “I like to say I was raised on milk and ‘Fever’ because Peggy’s iconic hit came out the year I was born and pulsed through our little Chicago walk-up like a welcoming heartbeat.” Lee’s many records were spinning on her parent’s turntable, sparking Callaway’s lifelong love of the pop/jazz icon.
As Callaway matured, she especially appreciated how Lee’s less-is-more approach to her singing lent her songs beauty, mystery, and vulnerability. And, when she discovered what a brilliant and prolific songwriter Lee was, she became an even more defining inspiration to her.
Curious and genetically inclined to do her research like her father, who “knew more about the people he interviewed than the people themselves,” according to Callaway, she was inspired to explore beyond Lee’s world-facing persona and the hit songs such as “Fever.” She was also fortunate to have access to the deeply personal stories behind the music through her friendship with Holly Foster Wells, sole granddaughter of Peggy Lee and administrator for the estate.
Their friendship led to the enviable, once-in-a-lifetime creative opportunity for Callaway, bestowed upon her by Wells, resulting in the recording debut of the two new Lee works, hidden gems entrusted by Wells to Callaway, that make this legacy project unique.
Callaway and Lee share several traits: both are songwriters, superb vocalists, mesmerizing storytellers, and fearless. “They both have a way of really captivating an audience and casting a spell,” says Wells, who went on the road with her grandmother starting at six years old. “Ann has an incredible instrument and she is also a sensitive human being and performer. They are both spiritual people and that comes through their music.”
With 14 spellbinding tracks on Fever: A Peggy Lee Celebration!, Callaway provides a deeper look into the prodigious songwriting talent of Lee, who some regard as the first female singer-songwriter, burnishing her legacy as a trailblazer for women in the music business.
Click here to stream the focus tracks.
Click here to pre-order.