Sarah Vaughan

Sweet 'n' Sassy

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Singers like Sarah Vaughan have the knack of turning the most pedestrian material into something special. Surrounded by strings and syrupy arrangements, Vaughan brings her lovely voice to bear on a dozen standards on Sweet 'N' Sassy. James Gavin's liner notes refers to the results as "mood music," a mellow variation on jazz that proved quite popular during the '50s and '60s. A relaxed, languid pace predominates pieces like "More Than You Know" and "Lazy Afternoon," while melancholy infuses "Slowly" and "Just Married Today." Vaughan's vocals take on an air of formality on "Come Spring" and "Thanks for the Ride," rendering a certain emotional blandness to both songs. Up-tempo material like "I've Got Rhythm" and "This Can't Be Love" gives Vaughan a chance to cut loose and strut her stuff, and, incidentally, these tunes work best. The album serves as the perfect late-evening record and, if one is behind the times, as excellent mood music. Either way, Vaughan delivers an ethereal and relaxed collection that will please fans.

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