Live and S’Wonderful is a compilation of Sarah Vaughan live recordings from three different sources. The first, from 1953, contains four cuts recorded for NBC’s Coast to Coast radio program at Birdland with track-by-track interruptions by the announcer. The band is a trio with Errol Garner at the piano. The reading of "Perdido" that closes the set took the announcer by surprise, but she'd already announced it and there wasn't anything he could do. The next stop is a live radio broadcast from Zardi’s in 1956. Vaughan is fine voice, and though there is still an announcer obnoxiously requesting every song on her program, she plays the game beautifully and delivers a stunning performance -- this one features Roy Haynes on drums. The majority of this set, however, is from the New York Jazz Festival in June of 1960, recorded live from Madison Square Garden. Here, in front of unidentified musicians who are simply Class A players, she lets loose on a seven-song program that features a beautiful reading of “Gone with the Wind” and an improvisatory jam on “Sometimes I’m Happy.” The sound quality varies from performance to performance, making this a collector’s necessity rather than a canonical one; but that said, her voice is heard perfectly throughout.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek