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  1. Sara Lee is a bass player, an in-demand studio musician who's hoping to start a solo career. Her debut album, Make It Beautiful, was released late in 2000, and she's planning to spend the following year splitting time between her own band and her studio work, the latter being a necessary means to finance the former (especially considering she funded the album herself).

    Lee first started work on the album in 1998 and eventually got it released on Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe record label. The album is a danceable bit of rock with some hip-sounding electronics in the mix, and with Lee on lead vocals. Songs include collaborations with Ani and with Emily Saliers.

    Like Tony Levin, Lee is a bit of a "band slut" (Ani's phrase), having spent 20 years recoring and touring with various folks listed in the above nodes. Other work she's done: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Fiona Apple, Thompson Twins.

    Lee was raised in Hereford, England, and had hoped to be a timpanist. Lousy grades kept her out of music school, so she fell back on her second instrument, the double bass (acoustic bass, basically), which she'd started at age 11. Over the years, her listening range broadened into soul music, which eventually got her into a rock band. She was discovered by Robert Fripp, who used her on his own albums and recommended her to the likes of Gang of Four.

    Regarding her style, Lee says she initially stuck to the low end of the bass. Her gig with the Indigo Girls infused more melody in her playing, which got her interested in the high strings and the notes way up the neck.

    Source: Bass Player, January 2001.

  2. Sara Lee Corp. is a conglomerate based in Chicago. Best known for its food sales, the company rakes in $17 billion per year. CEO as of April 3, 2001 is Robert Kopriva. Products fall into three categories:

    • Food and Beverage. This is the Sara Lee we know and love, selling sweet snack cakes and other junk food. Hillshire Farm is among the other brand names owned by Sara Lee in this space. Like others in this business (e.g. Philip Morris), Sara Lee grows through acquisition, its most recent target being The Earthgrains Co., for $2.8 billion. Bizarrely (to American ears), Earthgrains owns a European brand called Bimbo.
    • Household Products. Includes Kiwi shoe polish, plus various bath/shower products and insecticides.
    • Intimates and Underwear. Why, Sara! Who'd have thought she'd be in the lingerie business. The company owns Wonderbra, as well as Hanes, Playtex, L'eggs and Pretty Polly (U.K.). Perhaps the Bimbo division can find some synergy here.

    Sara Lee was founded in Chicago by (sorry folks) Charles Lubin in 1935, when he and his brother-in-law bought a bakery chain called Community Bake Shops. Its first product was a cream cheesecake that Lubin named after his daughter, Sara Lee. Shortly thereafter, the whole business had its name changed to Kitchens of Sara Lee.

    Other cakes and pastries were to come, but the big breakthrough was in 1953, when Lubin got a request to ship orders to Texas. To do so, he perfected a new method of freezing that preserved taste and textrue of the foods. This spread Sara Lee's radius of business and eventually caught the attention of Nathan Cummings.

    The Sara Lee Web site tells a more staid tale: Cummings, a Canadian entrepreneur, had begun building a food conglomerate in 1939, and he acquired Sara Lee's kitchens in 1956. Sadly, the Sara Lee "history" Web page says nothing about Sara or Lubin, and instead traces the history of Cummings' growing business empire. The company used the name Consolidated Grocers Corp. until 1985, when it adopted "Sara Lee" as the name for its overall operations.

    Famous for the slogan, "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." Which can be misheard as "Nobody does it like Sara Lee," which ....... you know, I'm not gonna go there.

    -- http://www.saralee.com
    -- Sara Lee Bakery site: http://www.saraleebakery.com

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