From the Vinyl Vault: Perri Lee

Artist: Perri Lee Blackwell
Album: A Night at Count Basie’s, the Funky Jazz of the Perri Lee Trio
Released: 1961
Label: Roulette

Count Basie’s night club in New York was considered one of the major hotspots for entertainment during the 1950s and 1960s. It also became a place for rising new talent and the perfect entrance into the New York jazz scene for the Perri Lee Trio. They gained notable popularity after appearing at Basie’s popular bistro in 1961. The trio included saxophonist Eddie Chamblee, who provided melodic interest over the solid support of drummer John Kriegh. However, the pivotal force driving this group forward was the woman on the organ, Perri Lee Blackwell.

Perri Lee had come a long way since her early days in Chicago and then later in Los Angeles, where she was discovered by renowned jazz vocalist Dinah Washington. After developing her career in Los Angeles, Perri Lee moved to New York where her trio made its debut performance and LP recording at Basie’s. This album has a funky jazz sound that is driven by Perri Lee’s swingin’ organ style. With Perri Lee’s dynamic and energetic grooves, Chamblee’s articulate sounds and Kriegh’s solid rhythms, The Trio has an instrumental force that keeps the listener hoppin’.

It is an exciting album ranging from the fast-burning tempos of “Duet” and “Blues in the Closet” to the slow groovin’ pulse of “Doodlin’” and “Mr. Lucky.” They also perform original music including “A’Hallelujah,” “Ummm” and “Just the Blues,” and the swingin’ standards “June Night,” “Red Sails in the Sunset” and “What’s New.” The live setting allows the listener to engage in the extrasensory interplay between the trio members. They build momentum, slow it down, and then turn it in new directions, all in complete cohesion.

For your listening pleasure, you can now hear this LP on Jazz 91.7 FM. Catch it on “The Diggin’ Deep Soul Shakedown” with JJ Lopez on Saturdays 1 p.m. - 3 p.m., Monday through Friday 7 a.m. - 5 p.m., or on “Women in Jazz” every Thursday evening 8 p.m. - 9 p.m. hosted by yours truly, Jacqueline Sotelo.

Friday, January 2, 2015