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På skive


«A Giving Way»

Canadian, Vancouver-based cellist-composer Peggy Lee formed its band in 1998 as a sextet and its membership remained remains unchanged since 2007. She created her band, now with a line-up of an octet, in order to explore different strategies for improvisation within the composition and to feature the unique individual voices of the ensemble, as they channeled and developed the rich entity of the ensemble. A Giving Way is the first release in eleven years and the sixth studio album from The Peggy Lee Band, recorded at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver in July 2022. The album was produced and edited by Lee’s partner, drummer Dylan van der Schyff.

Lee cites Carla Bley, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra and local legend, Wayne Horvitz, as seminal influences, She composed nine pieces for A Giving Way, including the dramatic and mournful «Justice / Honour» which was composed directly in response to George Floyd’s murder and covers «Whispering Pines» by other Canadian heroes, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson of The Band (Lee’s covered before The Band’s «Unfaithful Servant» on Echo Painting, Songlines, 2018). All pieces tell their own stories in their own ways.

The album is dedicated to her late parents and was mostly composed with an acoustic guitar at the family cottage in Ontario, built by her father and still with no electricity or running water, where her family spent the summers. Lee thought that her band is the right vehicle for this music as all musicians knew her parents, and she wanted to be embraced by a familiar sound. Lee’s music reflects feelings of gratitude and love for her supportive family and highlights the importance of place and community as well as a desire to do better collectively towards justice and human dignity.

The music – the composed and the improvised – suggests a warm and playful chamber atmosphere where good friends who know each other inside out enjoy playing together, with great creativity, passion and clarity, experimenting and exploring touching, lyrical melodies and timeless, familiar themes. Still, Lee’s compositions rarely follow familiar paths and often navigate back and forth between familiar musical memories and adventurous, modern-day compositional and improvisation strategies, stressing a strong democratic interplay as well as the highly personal voices of the octet. Lee’s solo cello on the moving title piece is so beautiful and touching and tells so much about her love for her parents. The inspired cover of «Whispering Pines» cements the musical atmosphere of this moving album written mostly in the woods.

Eyal Hareuveni

Brad Turner (tp, flh, cor), Jon Bentley (ts), Jeremy Berkman (tb), Peggy Lee (c), Ron Samworth (el.g, ac.g), Tony Wilson (el.g), André Lachance (el.b), Dylan van der Schyff (dr)

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