While this Living Era compilation may serve as a roughly accurate core sample of Sarah Vaughan's career from 1944-1950, the inclusion of certain fluffy pop "hits" -- the tracks featuring the Richard Maltby String Orchestra and the Earle Rodgers Choir in particular -- detracts slightly even while emphasizing the vocalist's remarkable versatility, for Sarah Vaughan had the ability to sing anything under any circumstances. Her best recordings are those that find her in the company of jazz musicians, for jazz was her natural element. It was among Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Haig, Flip Phillips, Sid Catlett, John Kirby, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Tadd Dameron, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Leo Parker, Teddy Wilson, Miles Davis, Charlie Ventura, and J.C. Heard that Sarah Vaughan developed her wonderful style, influencing (and influenced by) Ella Fitzgerald. Although Living Era's The Divine One is a satisfactory introduction to Sarah Vaughan, it fairly cries out to be augmented by a comprehensive survey of her early work as presented in the Classics Chronological Series. Start with the discs covering the years 1944-1946, 1946-1947, and 1949-1950, as these compilations contain many of her very best jazz performances on record.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf