Jump for Joy
In 1959, Capitol Records positioned Peggy Lee as a female counterpart to Frank Sinatra, which is one of the reasons the label paired her with The Nelson Riddle Orchestra for Jump for Joy. But where that orchestra functioned as a steam engine for Sinatra—punctuating his verses with staccato hits and chutes of strings and horn—when it was Lee’s turn, Riddle's orchestra functioned more as a dance partner, gliding backward to give her space. Lee was such a subtle, soft-spoken vocalist that mixing technique was paramount to the success of Jump for Joy. Using only three microphones and a highly sophisticated understanding of space, the Capitol engineers achieved the proper balance between Lee’s pillowy vocals and the vigor of Riddle’s orchestra. That balance is best heard on this latest edition of Jump for Joy. The album reaches its peak on renditions of “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Cheek to Cheek," and “Just in Time,” in which Lee manages to stoke the arrangements with her seductive phrasing and float above the orchestra like a butterfly over waves.