Sarah Vaughan

The Mystery of Man

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This CD reissue brings back the music from an unusual project. Gene Lees was hired to translate the philosophical poems of Pope John II into English and match them to music. The project climaxed in a performance and recording by Sarah Vaughan who was backed by a huge orchestra and chorus conducted by Lalo Schifrin. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, the results often sound rather ponderous. The best pieces are the two original ones by Lees ("The Mystery of Man" and "Let It Live") but otherwise this is a difficult set to sit through, not only from the jazz standpoint (the impressive all-stars who are in the orchestra are largely wasted) but musically; everything is too serious and a bit pompous. Skip.

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