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The New Scene

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Album Review

The New Scene pairs Sarah Vaughan with arranger Luchi de Jesus for a luminously crafted collection of songs squarely in the style and sensibility of the mainstream pop of the mid-'60s — and while jazz purists will have already recoiled in horror and moved on to another review, less myopic listeners will discover an effervescent, lively LP that refuses to sacrifice the sensitivity of Vaughan's remarkable voice in favor of crossover success. Decades removed from the album's original release, songs like "Michelle" and "Call Me" are now indistinguishable from the traditional standards they usurped, and to her credit Vaughan seems to grasp completely the excellence of the material at her disposal, savoring the lyrics and navigating the melodies with her trademark artistry. De Jesus' buoyant arrangements are similarly perceptive, playing to Vaughan's myriad strengths while channeling the lessons of Abbey Road and Hitsville USA to subtly update her approach for a brave new world.


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 she might strangle it to death), Sarah Vaughan's legacy as a performer and a...
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The New Scene, Sarah Vaughan
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