Published May 15, 2018Not to be confused with the long-deceased vocalist, Vancouver cellist Peggy Lee has taken the traditional jazz associated with her namesake and expanded its boundaries to include a textural, robust and cacophonic scope. Lee has often played with large ensembles over the past two decades; Echo Painting, her latest full-length, employs an impressive ten musicians — an ensemble that includes both current and former bandmates, alongside new faces she's been eager to collaborate with.
What makes these 14 tracks so engrossing is just how seamlessly Lee can lead her musicians through so many disparate sounds and modes, as she moves from avant-garde ("A Strange Visit"), to modal-sounding jazz ("End Piece") to simple balladry ("The Hidden Piece"). Lee keeps things sonically flexible and nimble throughout, blending soluble funeral march trumpet with smooth sax and post-rock guitar on "Hymn" and transforms Fantasy Records polyrhythms into a free jazz freakout on "Out on a Limb."
On Echo Painting, Peggy Lee sounds adventurous and focused, like a seasoned vet, and musically curious, refined and rebellious: a musician not afraid to take multiple ideas and visions and indiscriminately layer them upon one other. (Songlines)