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Vocal Jazz - Released September 1, 1998 | INA Mémoire vive

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Vocal Jazz - Released March 19, 1954 | Emarcy

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 18, 1954 | Emarcy

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This 1954 studio date, a self-titled album recorded for Emarcy, was later reissued as Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown to denote the involvement of one of the top trumpeters of the day. Vaughan sings nine intimate standards with a band including Brown on trumpet, Herbie Mann on flute, and Paul Quinichette on tenor, each of which have plenty of space for solos (most of the songs are close to the five-minute mark). Vaughan is arguably in the best voice of her career here, pausing and lingering over notes on the standards "April in Paris," "Jim," and "Lullaby of Birdland." As touching as Vaughan is, however, Brown almost equals her with his solos on "Lullaby of Birdland," "Jim," and "September Song," displaying his incredible bop virtuosity in a restrained setting without sacrificing either the simple feeling of his notes or the extraordinary flair of his choices. Quinichette's solos are magnificent as well, his feathery tone nearly a perfect match for Vaughan's voice. Ironically though, neither Brown nor Quinichette or Mann appear on the album's highlight, "Embraceable You," which Vaughan performs with close accompaniment from the rhythm section: Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. Vaughan rounds the notes with a smile and even when she's steeping to reach a few low notes, she never loses the tremendous feeling conveyed by her voice. In whichever incarnation it's reissued, Sarah Vaughan is one of the most important jazz-meets-vocal sessions ever recorded. © John Bush /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released December 1, 1954 | Verve Reissues

This 1954 studio date, a self-titled album recorded for Emarcy, was later reissued as Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown to denote the involvement of one of the top trumpeters of the day. Vaughan sings nine intimate standards with a band including Brown on trumpet, Herbie Mann on flute, and Paul Quinichette on tenor, each of which have plenty of space for solos (most of the songs are close to the five-minute mark). Vaughan is arguably in the best voice of her career here, pausing and lingering over notes on the standards "April in Paris," "Jim," and "Lullaby of Birdland." As touching as Vaughan is, however, Brown almost equals her with his solos on "Lullaby of Birdland," "Jim," and "September Song," displaying his incredible bop virtuosity in a restrained setting without sacrificing either the simple feeling of his notes or the extraordinary flair of his choices. Quinichette's solos are magnificent as well, his feathery tone nearly a perfect match for Vaughan's voice. Ironically though, neither Brown nor Quinichette or Mann appear on the album's highlight, "Embraceable You," which Vaughan performs with close accompaniment from the rhythm section: Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. Vaughan rounds the notes with a smile and even when she's steeping to reach a few low notes, she never loses the tremendous feeling conveyed by her voice. In whichever incarnation it's reissued, Sarah Vaughan is one of the most important jazz-meets-vocal sessions ever recorded. © John Bush /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve Reissues

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Vocal Jazz - Released March 19, 1954 | Verve Reissues

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Vocal Jazz - Released August 6, 1957 | Verve

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During the mid-'50s, Sarah Vaughan spent most of her time recording songbook standards backed by a large orchestra in florid arrangements, with only the occasional breath of fresh air like her masterpiece, 1954's Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown. Four years after that milestone, another landed with the live album At Mister Kelly's. Recorded quite early in the days of the live LP, the album captured Vaughan at her best and most relaxed, stretching out on a set of late-night torch songs and ballads. With a trio including Jimmy Jones on piano, Roy Haynes on drums, and Richard Davis on bass, Vaughan is simply captivating, easily disproving the notion that, to be entertaining, singers needed inventive arrangements and multiple voices (instrumental or otherwise) behind them. Her unerring sense of rhythm carries her through every song on this set, whether the occasion calls for playfulness and wit ("Thou Swell," "Honeysuckle Rose") or a world-wise melancholia ("Willow Weep for Me"). Her accompanists are a valuable anchor, with Haynes' drumming just as precise as Sassy's vocals and Jones' piano solos adding additional vitality. © John Bush /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 10, 2011 | BDMUSIC

This anthology might only focus on the period 1954-1958, but it contains the full vocal range of one of the greatest singers in jazz history: Sarah Vaughan. The Newark native, who was in her thirties when these recordings were made, possessed an incredibly rich and warm timbre, a stunning mastery of technique, and perfect diction. Supported by pianists Jimmy Jones, John Malachi and Ronnel Bright, drummer Roy Haynes and trumpet genius Clifford Brown, she masters every word, every syllable and every phrase. She is also a unique scatter (If I Knew Then (What I Know Now))! After listening to these 36 tracks, it is easy to see why Sarah Vaughan is thought to rank alongside Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, as one of the greatest jazz voices of the twentieth century. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released June 19, 1997 | Parlophone UK

This LP finds Sarah Vaughan backed by big-band and string arrangements from Quincy Jones that could easily have been used for a Frank Sinatra date. Vaughan's voice is typically wondrous and sometimes a bit excessive on the ballads (some may find her slightly overblown version of "Maria" a bit difficult to sit through), but in top form on the more swinging numbers. In the repertoire are such tunes as "The Best Is Yet to Come," "The Second Time Around" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads." More of a middle-of-the-road pop date than a creative jazz session (the personnel is not given), the set is not essential but should please those who love the sound of Vaughan's remarkable voice. The final two "bonus" numbers ("One Mint Julep" and "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean") were originally released as a single. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released June 13, 2000 | Verve Reissues

Verve's Finest Hour collection of Sarah Vaughan's work compiles 60 minutes of career highlights, including "Misty," "Lush Life," "Lullaby of Birdland," "Star Dust," and "My Coloring Book." Though it's by no means a definitive compilation of Vaughan's music, it does provide a welcome overview of some of her best pop and jazz moments. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released August 8, 2014 | BnF Collection

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 1, 1958 | Verve Reissues

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Sarah Vaughan recorded in a variety of settings while with Mercury and EmArcy in the 1950s, but this particular matchup with the Count Basie Orchestra (pianist Ronnell Bright substitutes for Count, thus the title) is pure jazz. During the classic encounter, Vaughan fits in comfortably with the band, whether singing lyrics (such as "Darn That Dream," "Cheek to Cheek," or "Doodlin'") or scatting sensuously on "No Count Blues." The wit and constant swing (in addition to the spontaneous creativity), makes this one of the best of all Sarah Vaughan recordings. Highly recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 2, 2006 | Parlophone UK

Roulette, the same label that brought the world Jimmie F. Rodgers' "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and Joey Dee's "Peppermint Twist," also recorded some wonderful vocal sessions on Joe Williams, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan. While most of these were dates for ballads and lush strings, they also allowed their artists latitude for a variety of settings. When a Sarah Vaughan album titled After Hours sold better than others -- despite featuring only guitar and bass accompaniment -- they replicated the formula for 1962's wonderful Sarah + 2. Only the personnel changed; Barney Kessel took over from Mundell Lowe, while Joe Comfort stood in for George Duvivier on bass. The results are excellent, highlighting the power of Vaughan's voice, whether she's singing a rosy "All I Do Is Dream of You" or one of the most turgid torch songs, "All or Nothing at All." Her best feature is "When Sunny Gets Blue," a spotlight for her dynamic range. © John Bush /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released August 6, 1957 | Verve Reissues

During the mid-'50s, Sarah Vaughan spent most of her time recording songbook standards backed by a large orchestra in florid arrangements, with only the occasional breath of fresh air like her masterpiece, 1954's Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown. Four years after that milestone, another landed with the live album At Mister Kelly's. Recorded quite early in the days of the live LP, the album captured Vaughan at her best and most relaxed, stretching out on a set of late-night torch songs and ballads. With a trio including Jimmy Jones on piano, Roy Haynes on drums, and Richard Davis on bass, Vaughan is simply captivating, easily disproving the notion that, to be entertaining, singers needed inventive arrangements and multiple voices (instrumental or otherwise) behind them. Her unerring sense of rhythm carries her through every song on this set, whether the occasion calls for playfulness and wit ("Thou Swell," "Honeysuckle Rose") or a world-wise melancholia ("Willow Weep for Me"). Her accompanists are a valuable anchor, with Haynes' drumming just as precise as Sassy's vocals and Jones' piano solos adding additional vitality. © John Bush /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1950 | Columbia - Legacy

Even though Sarah Vaughan recorded for Columbia between 1949 and 1952, only two LPs were culled from the many tracks she produced during this period: the guitar-bass-vocal-only After Hours, and Sarah Vaughan in Hi-Fi, a more jazz-oriented collection featuring a young Miles Davis and tenor player Budd Johnson, among others. These are among Vaughan's finest recordings, and the stellar accompaniment is reminiscent of the Teddy Wilson's small groups backing Billie Holiday on her Columbia recordings of the '30s. Here the still youthful Vaughan applies her technical mastery to jazz classics like "East of the Sun," "Come Rain or Come Shine," and "The Nearness of You," complete with startlingly elastic phrasing and sheer loveliness of voice. © Rovi Staff /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 11, 1997 | Parlophone UK

From 1961-1962, Sarah Vaughan recorded two albums while accompanied by just guitar and bass. Her 1962 outing for the obscure Reactivation label (with guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Joe Comfort) is hard to find, as is her earlier set with guitarist Mundell Lowe and bassist George Duvivier. Surprisingly, Lowe only has one solo, so the emphasis throughout is exclusively on Vaughan's magnificent voice. The program mostly sticks to ballads, with a couple of exceptions (most notably "Great Day"), and is a quiet and intimate affair, with Vaughan more subtle than she sometimes was. Despite a lightweight version of "My Favorite Things" that will not remind listeners of John Coltrane, this is an excellent if brief set (34-and-a-half minutes) with some fine jazz singing. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1982 | Pablo

Sarah Vaughan had complete control over the production of this album, Crazy and Mixed Up (which would be her last small-group recording) and, even if the results are not all that unique, her voice is often in near-miraculous form. With fine backup work from pianist Roland Hanna, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Harold Jones, Sassy sounds in prime form, on such songs as "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "Autumn Leaves," "The Island" and "You Are Too Beautiful." It is hard to believe, listening to her still-powerful voice on this CD reissue, that she had already been a recording artist for 48 years. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released May 13, 1981 | Rhino Atlantic

Depends strictly on your feeling regarding The Beatles. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1977 | Verve Reissues

The fourth of four box sets reissuing every recording Sarah Vaughan made for the Mercury and EmArcy labels (including many previously unreleased performances) starts off (after four orchestra tracks) with its strongest selections, no less than 32 songs recorded during a live four-day engagement in Copenhagen during which the singer is accompanied by the Kirk Stuart Trio. Everything else on this six-CD set is somewhat anticlimactic in comparison, for Vaughan is otherwise hindered a bit by string orchestras, a big band and/or a choir. Better to get the live sessions (released as Sassy Swings the Tivoli in addition to a Japanese set by the same name that has extra material) instead although lovers of Vaughan's voice will want to pick up this large reissue anyway. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1981 | Pablo

Sarah Vaughan is accompanied by her regular rhythm section of the early '80s (with pianist George Gaffney, bassist Andy Simpkins, and drummer Harold Jones), guitarist Freddie Green, and the Count Basie horn sections on this enjoyable date. The arrangements by Sammy Nestico and Allyn Ferguson unfortunately do not leave much room for any of the Basie sidemen to solo, but Sassy is in superb form. She is at her best on "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues," a remake of "If You Could See Me Now," and a rapid "When Your Lover Has Gone," although some listeners may enjoy her overly dramatic rendition of "Send in the Clowns." © Scott Yanow /TiVo