In honor of the November release of his hotly anticipated biography, IS THAT ALL THERE IS?: THE STRANGE LIFE OF PEGGY LEE (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster), author James Gavin will present an array of downtown cabaret and jazz idols in tribute to the legendary blond seductress of pop-jazz. The cast will include Justin Vivian Bond, Kenny Mellman, Nellie McKay, Barb Jungr, Carol Fredette, Tammy Faye, Spencer Day, Baby Jane Dexter, Julian Fleisher, Lenny Kaye, Andy Bey, Jane Monheit & Michael Kanan, and others to be announced. As house band, the show will feature the toast of the Twin Cities, The New Standards (Chan Poling, John Munson, and Steve Roehm), a celebrated jazz trio of suited-down ex-punk rockers (“They’ll keep you riveted”-Time Out New York); along with drummer Craig Holiday Haynes.
Rare video will conjure up Lee, the sultry minimalist who inspired Madonna, k.d. lang, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Diana Krall. As the first white girl to sing black, Lee dazzled Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Her 1958 smash “Fever” broke through the sexual repression of the 1950s and, years later, inspired covers by Beyoncé and Madonna. Lee’s iconic hit of 1969, “Is That All There Is?,” summed up the disillusionment and angst of a decade. Before the term “singer-songwriter” was coined, Lee penned many of her own trademarks—among them “He’s a Tramp,” one of the songs she co-wrote for Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.
James Gavin is the author of Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker (“a landmark in entertainment biography”-Hollywood Reporter), Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne (“magnificent ... gripping, marvelously written”-Liz Smith), and Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret (“vividly reported ... etched in acid”-New York Times). Of Is That All There Is?, singer Natalie Cole raves: “In his keenly observed, scrupulously researched biography, Gavin has illuminated something very true and touching about the woman behind the glamour.”