Veronica Klaus
and the Tammy Hall Quartet

Lee à la V

Veronica Klaus continues her love affair with Peggy Lee on this self-produced CD of songs either sung by or co-written by Lee. Klaus has a close affinity to all facets of Lee’s style: the look, the self-confident swagger, the love for great lyrics and a swinging groove. Bernice Petkere’s romantic “Close Your Eyes” and the Frank Loesser/Burton Lane ballad “Moments Like This” set a tone of firm sophistication and quality that continues throughout the disc. With solid backing from longtime collaborator, pianist Tammy Hall, bassist Daniel Fabricant and drummer Kent Bryson, Klaus weaves a dreamy spell with her measured husky vocals. Add to the arrangements some fine horn embellishments by Mike Olmos and you’re instantly transported to an earlier time of smoky saloons and late night jazz sessions.

Without the obvious visual aspects of Klaus’s live performances, where she embodies the soul of the ‘40s and ‘50s, this CD elegantly codifies her careful respect for Lee’s music. The arrangements are lovingly re-created with intelligence and Klaus’s vocals are highlighted, yet wonderfully support the quartet without overpowering them. Her renditions of the bouncy “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’” (co-written by Lee and Duke Ellington) and the lovely Arthur Hamilton ballad “He Needs Me” shine and sparkle in all the right places. Another Hamilton composition, “Rain Sometimes,” and “Some Cats Know” (Leiber & Stoller) have the relaxed ease and worldly wisdom that defined Lee. Klaus hits these out of the park. Split between swing and ballads, Lee à la V is a respectful homage to one of the great ladies of modern music. If you want to learn from the best, Klaus could do no better and this CD is a fine testament to her mentor.

Steve Murray
Cabaret Scenes
March 1, 2014