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Viva Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan

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Album Review

Sarah Vaughan's Viva! Vaughan is a curious blend of jazz and pop with Latin percussion, with arrangements by ex-Basie sideman Frank Foster, recorded in the midst of the mid-'60s bossa nova craze. Vaughan is in great voice throughout the date and the material is generally first-rate, except for the bland "Night Song." Although the back of the CD hypes a "full-scale" orchestra, it is an unusual blend with seven trombones, flute, violins, piano, bass, and drums, plus Latin percussion, but no trumpets or saxophones. Foster's best arrangements omit the string section, including a swinging take of Henry Mancini's "Mr. Lucky," a wild if brief "Avalon," a campy "Tea for Two," and Foster's own "Shiny Stockings." Unfortunately, the bossa nova selections ("The Boy From Ipanema" and "Quiet Nights") are burdened with pedestrian string arrangements that date the music as much as the generally uninspired Latin percussion. It's likely that this lack of focus confused the record-buying public as to what type of music this was and caused it to be overlooked. The brevity of the tracks and the lack of solo opportunities for the strong supporting cast (which includes Kai Winding, Jerome Richardson, Barry Galbraith, George Duvivier, among others) make it seem like receiving airplay was a major goal of this release. However, the golden voice of Sarah Vaughan is this CD reissue's most dominant factor, and it is worth acquiring.

Biography

Born: 27 March 1924 in Newark, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Possessor of one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century, Sarah Vaughan ranked with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in the very top echelon of female jazz singers. She often gave the impression that with her wide range, perfectly controlled vibrato, and wide expressive abilities, she could do anything she wanted with her voice. Although not all of her many recordings are essential (give Vaughan a weak song and...
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Viva Vaughan, Sarah Vaughan
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