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Album Review

A compilation of two albums recorded in Europe under the direction of Quincy Jones, these sessions catch Sarah Vaughan at her magnificent best. There may be claims of overdoing it or garishness. But her set of pipes and her willingness to use them dramatically, and sometimes coyly, to bring out the best of everything she sings brushes aside such criticisms as unjustified. Classic standard or novelty tune, she had full command of the vocal art. The 1958 session took place in Paris with Jones doing the arrangements and leading a 55-piece orchestra. To match up this large aggregation would be daunting for most singers. But with Vaughan's powerful operatic voice, it's no problem at all. Although the notes don't identify personnel, Zoot Sims was present backing Vaughan and soloing on such cuts as "Misty." Also present was the rhythm section of Ronnell Bright on piano, Kenny Clarke on drums, and Richard Davis and Pierre Michelot sharing bass. This set was originally issued under the title of Vaughan and Violins. The other session took place in Copenhagen in 1963 and was issued with a similar alliterative title, Vaughan and Voices. Jones was again in charge, but Robert Farnon conducted and arranged, which meant there would be no upbeat material. Farnon never met a string section he didn't love. But in no way does this circumstance impede Vaughan. An audacious full-voiced treatment of "It Could Happen to You" not only makes one forget most other versions, but reveals how little the Sevend Saaby Danish Choir is needed here. Conversely, the way Vaughan rides their voices at the outset of "Days of Wine and Roses" pays their way. This compilation is vintage Sarah Vaughan, which means this is a dazzling exploration of the possibilities of the human voice as a vocal instrument. Recommended.

Customer Reviews

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Biography

Born: March 27, 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...
Full Bio