Peggy Lee - Black Coffee

Peggy Lee was 32 years old when she walked into the Decca label's recording studios in midtown New York to lay down the tracks for what became the defining Black Coffee. Remarkably, it was the singer's first album, even though she had a swathe of hit singles to her name. Recorded across three sessions – held on April 30 and May 1 and 4, 1953 – with producer Milt Gabler at the helm, Lee was accompanied by pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Max Wayne and drummer Ed Shaughnessy, plus a horn player, trumpeter Pete Candoli, who became a stalwart of the West Coast jazz scene. Sipping cognac sweetened with honey in between takes, Lee and her band recreated the intimate vibe of a jazz club performance, putting down eight tracks whose blend of languor and nocturnal reverie helped to cement Lee's status as a torch-song goddess.