5

Susanna Bartilla: I Love Lee

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Susanna Bartilla: I Love Lee So which Lee does singer Susanna Bartilla love? Lee Marvin? Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors? Both men would be intriguing subjects for a tribute album, but of course the answer lies elsewhere. It's there in tiny letters on the cover of I Love Lee, but it's even more obvious from the opening bars of Kansas Joe McCoy's "Why Don't You Do Right." This is a tribute to the great Peggy Lee. It's a fitting tribute, too, with excellent song selection, superb delivery and, despite the presence of a terrific backing band, a focus on the vocals rather than extended instrumental breaks.

Bartilla was born in Germany but has lived and worked in France for some years. She has a pure, bright, voice with a distinctive vibrato, which gives a fascinating dynamic to her interpretations of these Songbook classics—a style more akin to chanteuses such as Edith Piaf rather than Lee's own approach.

This album appears within months of Swedish singer Jessica Pilnas' Norma Delores Egstrom: A Tribute To Peggy Lee (ACT, 2012). It's just a coincidence, but it does reflect the admiration in which Lee is still held. The two albums also show just how much scope Lee's music gives to artists; only the classic "Fever" appears on both recordings, while the distinctly different approaches of the singers and the contrasting instrumental lineups ensure that the albums complement each other beautifully. Pilnas was joined by vibraphone, trumpet and bass, giving her songs a bright, seductive, musical foundation. On I Love Lee Bartilla is accompanied by guitar, piano, bass and drums, and the result is a more blues-tinged feel, an earthier sensuality.

Bartilla is accompanied by the duo of bassist Claude Mouton and guitarist Sean Gourley on three tunes. Mouton's emphatic bass riff on "Fever" gives Gourlay a solid foundation for his rich-toned guitar, while the sparse bass and guitar lines on "Johnny Guitar"—co-written by Lee and Victor Young for the 1954 film of the same name—enhance the melancholy lyrics, which Bartilla delivers with just the right level of pathos.

The addition of pianist Alain Jean-Marie and drummer Aldo Romano gives songs such as "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and the positive, optimistic "Almost Like Being In Love" an added drive. On "I'm Through With Love" and "Once In A While" the pair creates a late-night atmosphere for the torch song tales Bartilla tells.

Gourley is a splendid guitarist, and also demonstrates his vocal prowess when he joins Bartilla for "I Don't Know Enough About You." His raw, bluesy, voice is a perfect complement to Bartilla's on this cheery, upbeat, number which is further enlivened by Jean-Marie's piano contribution.

I Love Lee has the endorsement of Peggy Lee's granddaughter, Holly Foster Wells. It's pleasing to see such an acknowledgement of Bartilla's work, a formal recognition of her respect for Lee's legacy and the quality of her tribute.


Track Listing: Why Don't You Do Right; Golden Earrings; I'm Through With Love; Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You; Johnny Guitar; Fever; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Almost Like Being In Love; I Don't Know Enough About You; You Go To My Head; Once In A While.

Personnel: Susanna Bartilla: vocals; Sean Gourley: guitar, vocals (9); Alain Jean- Marie: piano; Claude Mouton: bass; Aldo Romano: drums.

Title: I Love Lee | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "OWT" CD/LP/Track Review OWT
by John Sharpe
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Luz de Luna" CD/LP/Track Review Luz de Luna
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Scott Hamilton / Harry Allen: live!" CD/LP/Track Review Scott Hamilton / Harry Allen: live!
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Interlude: Atticus Live!-The Music of Jesse Lewis" CD/LP/Track Review Interlude: Atticus Live!-The Music of Jesse Lewis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Short Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Short Stories
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 3, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.