Sarah Vaughan

Sassy Swings Again

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Vaughan ended her longstanding and career-defining tenure at Mercury with this fine set from 1967. Entering her autumnal prime, Vaughan effortlessly ignites such chestnuts as "Take the 'A' Train" (one of the best interpretations of the Billy Strayhorn classic), "I Want to Be Happy," and "Sweet Georgia Brown." She also dips into some rarely heard gems like Richard Rodgers' "The Sweetest Sounds" and Cy Coleman's "On the Other Side of the Tracks." Uncharacteristically, Vaughan also digs into the B.B. King favorite "Everyday I Have the Blues," which, while impressively delivered, demonstrates why her forte was not the dirty lowdown side of the musical coin. Vaughan, however, does shine on a blues-tinged version of Irving Berlin's swinger "All Alone," showing she certainly could convey a dusky mood in the right setting. As usual, Vaughan rides in style throughout, compliments of some fine arrangements by Thad Jones, J.J. Johnson, Manny Albam, and a young Bob James. And with the likes of Clark Terry, Joe Newman, Freddie Hubbard, Kai Winding, Phil Woods, and Benny Golson sitting in, the backing band here is equally impressive. An often overlooked but essential session from that most divine of jazz chanteuses.

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