by Ralph J. Gleason
San Francisco – “Retire? I should say not!” declared Peggy Lee, in town for a three-week date in the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel. Debunking retirement rumors, Peggy said, “That was a bad week. You have weeks like that along with the good ones.”
“When you like music, what are you going to do? It’s like a disease! I’d like to get off the road, though, as would everybody else.”
Peggy’s working on the solution to that problem, too. She currently is dickering for a television show which would originate in Hollywood and would keep her and her modern jazz group on the coast indefinitely.
The show may turn out to be the sort of thing jazz has been looking for on TV.
Peggy is an avid jazz fan – “I’ve learned so much from working with good musicians, beginning with Benny Goodman” – and is determined to adapt the use of good jazzmen to TV as she has to her nightclub act.
“I think you can do it,” she said. “We plan to use the music naturally and not awkwardly. We’ll let it happen the way it does in the club, and we’ll give the guys a chance to play, but it won’t be contrived.”
Peggy currently is using a group that includes Jimmy Rowles, piano (he also contributes most of the arrangements, “though we work out a lot of head things”); Jack Costanza, bongos and conga drum; Laurindo Almeida, guitar; and Larry Bunker, drums; bass and harp.
Almeida has taken the place of Pete Candoli. Pete’s studio commitments make it impossible for him to travel, though he may work with the group on the TV show.