Sarah Vaughan


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The second installment in the Classics Sarah Vaughan chronology concentrates almost exclusively upon her Musicraft recordings made between July 1946 and November 1947. After hearing her in performance at the Three Deuces on 52nd Street, producer Albert Marx lost no time in drawing up a three-year contract between the singer and Musicraft. Backed by two different bands led by her soon-to-be husband, trumpeter George Treadwell, as well as by Teddy Wilson's Quartet and Octet, Vaughan makes each song into a miracle of elegance, style, and grace. The collective lineup of jazz players in this portion of her discography is stunning, with saxophonists Don Byas, Budd Johnson, Charlie Ventura and "Big Nick" Nicholas; trumpeters Buck Clayton and Emmett Berry; and drummer J.C. Heard, whose lifelong admiration for Vaughan dates back to these exquisite performances. The version of "Tenderly" she recorded on July 2, 1947, is said to have been the first recording ever made of this melody, which was composed by Musicraft's musical director, Walter Gross. (Charles Mingus liked to point out that "Tenderly" was closely based upon "September in the Rain," and demonstrated what he regarded as a case of plagiarism by performing something called "Septemberly" on his groundbreaking Debut album Mingus at the Bohemia.) This disc also documents Vaughan's excursion into less jazzy, more sugary pop-oriented circumstances. This was a path similar to that taken during the late '40s by her mentor, Billy Eckstine, and by Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday. Eckstine later explained that he opted for lucrative work as a pop singer for MGM rather than starving while leading a modern jazz band. Three of the Vaughan recordings included here, in fact, came out on the MGM label. At no point does she sound anything less than marvelous. Her "Lord's Prayer," originally issued on the flip side of an earthier "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," comes across beautifully. Ted Dale & His Orchestra, while espousing somewhat slick arrangements and instrumentation, retain some measure of hipness and integrity, which is more than can be said for certain other ensembles she sang with in late 1947 and early 1948. And let this all serve as a reminder that Sarah Vaughan could sing anything under any circumstances. That's why they call her "Divine."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:56
2 2:49
3 2:49
4 2:53
5 3:10
6 2:55
7 3:02
8 3:01
9 2:52
10 2:41
11 3:01
12 3:09
13 2:51
14 2:45
15 2:26
16 2:32
17 2:54
18 2:59
19 2:49
20 2:45
21 2:20
22 3:08
23 2:25
24 2:36
blue highlight denotes track pick