Burke/Webster: Black Coffee

Written by nyfos

July 20, 2016

“Love’s a hand-me-down brew” in these blues. Who would spurn Peggy Lee when she sings so languorously? Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in North Dakota, Peggy Lee had a voice that to me could do just about anything. But be sexy. At least to me. Not even in “Fever”, fun as it is, does she sound truly sexy. I’m used to the good-girl voice she projects in “Till There Was You”, or in “Fools Rush In”, replete with harp accompaniment. But in “Black Coffee”, where she so artfully mimics the inflections of Billie Holliday so that it sounds natural to her, Peggy Lee is on fire.

Peggy Lee singing “Black Coffee” (1953)
music by Sonny Burke, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster (1948)

nyfos

Award-winning composer Harold Meltzer “seems to write pieces of scrupulous craft and exceptional freshness, which makes each seem like an important contribution” (Fanfare Magazine).  A longtime friend of NYFOS, his music has been performed in several NYFOS programs and he was featured as a NYFOS Next curator in 2014. Harold is looking forward to the world premiere of his latest work, Variations on a Summer Day, on Sunday, July 24, as part of the Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music.

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