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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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PEGGY DUQUESNEL

Summertime Lullaby

Joyspring Music JMP 203

 

 


1. Summertime Lullaby
2. Days Of Wine And Roses
3. My Romance
4. In The Quiet Hours
5. Promised Land
6. On Green Dolphin Street
7. Drivin' Blues
8. Mack The Knife
9. Fly Me To The Moon
10. Satin Doll
11. Take The "A" Train
12. Stay As Sweet As You Are

Peggy Duquesnel - Piano, vocals
Mike Higgins - Guitar (tracks 1, 7)
Ernie Nunez - Bass (tracks 1, 7)
Dave Owens - Drums (tracks 1, 7)
Edo Guidotti - Hammond B3 (tracks 1, 7)
Grant Greissman - Guitar (tracks 2-5, 8, 9)
Jim Dejulio - Bass (tracks 2, 4, 5, 9)
Kendall Kay - Drums (tracks 2, 4, 5, 9)

 

Peggy Duquesnel (pronounced do-shay-nel) is one of numerous female piano-playing singers that dot the jazz music scene today. With the likes of Diana Krall, Norah Jones and Carol Welsman taking up most of the oxygen in this space, it is exceedingly difficult even for the most accomplished musician to gain any widespread public recognition.

With the release of her latest album entitled Summertime Lullaby, Duquesnel attempts to distinguish herself from the rest of the pack with a collection of jazz standards and love songs, including some of her own compositions that might have both jazz and pop crossover appeal.

While this is a pleasant album and Peggy has a light but lyrical voice and it is easy to discern her classical piano training, there is nothing riveting on the disc which says "play me". Of her four compositions - Summertime Lullaby, In The Quiet Hours, Promised Land and Drivin' Blues - only the last offers anything that attracts the listener, as it has a rocking beat supported by Edo Guidotti on the Hammond B3. Otherwise the tunes are very conventional without any particularly memorable lyrics.

Peggy does shine on a couple of standards, especially on the Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer tune Days Of Wine And Roses where she transforms the usual ballad into a real swinger, and the Bart Howard classic Fly Me To The Moon which is also offered with a slow-tempo opening vocal and then segues into a strong instrumental take-off. The challenge, as always when doing covers of iconic tunes, is that the original (in this case by Frank Sinatra) always comes off the much superior product and this case is no different.

There are four instrumental cuts presented with a well-executed bossa Latin-flavoured rendition of On Green Dolphin Street, an OK version of Mack The Knife, and then two Ellington/Strayhorn classics - Satin Doll and Take The "A" Train - which really showcase Duquesnel's piano talent and arranging capabilities. While at times during her solos she seems to lose her way, this is really where her strength lies and it might be interesting to see how she would fare in a piano trio setting.

If the objective, at the outset of this project, was to create a breakthrough disc, this has not been accomplished. While it might generate some airplay in the Los Angeles area where Duquesnel is based, it does not have the magic for broader recognition.

Pierre Giroux



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