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Barbara Lea: Remembering A Versatile Cabaret Singer

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Barbara Lea: Remembering A Versatile Cabaret Singer

Barbara Lea: Remembering A Versatile Cabaret Singer

Barbara Lea: Remembering A Versatile Cabaret Singer

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/144785650/144786079" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The pop-jazz singer Barbara Lea. Jim Estrin/courtesy of The New York Times archives hide caption

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Jim Estrin/courtesy of The New York Times archives

The pop-jazz singer Barbara Lea.

Jim Estrin/courtesy of The New York Times archives

Barbara Lea was a singer known for her straightforward interpretations, precise diction and respect for the intentions of each song's composer and lyricist. She died Dec. 26 at 82, of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Lea got her start singing in clubs in the 1950s. Her first album, 1955's A Woman in Love, was named one of the finest recordings of the year. Though she dropped out of singing for a while, she made a comeback in New York's cabaret world in the 1970s.

On today's Fresh Air, we remember Lea with excerpts from an interview and in-studio concert performance from June 7, 1991.