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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




The Diva Series

VERVE 065 207-2



    1. How High the Moon
    2. Cheek to Cheek
    3. Misty
    4. Old Devil Moon
    5. Shake Down the Stars
    6. A Sinner Kissed an Angel
    7. It’s got to be Love
    8. Just One of Those Things
    9. I’ll Never Smile again
    10. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
    11. What Is This Thing Called Love
    12. Word’s Can’t Describe
    13. Shiny Stockings
    14. I want to Be happy
    15. Tenderly
    16. Every Day I Have the Blues.

The first two tracks on this composite CD are of Sarah Vaughan swinging mightily with the Big Bands of Ernie Wilkins and the Basie Band, without the Count. Both are splendid affairs, the first has a solo from Cannonball Adderley on Alto and the second features Frank Wess on tenor. Whilst these are worthy of mention, it goes without saying that Sarah Vaughan is the star of every track. Probably only Ella Fitzgerald could match the artistry of this genuine diva, she was in a class of her own. Whether accompanied by a swinging big band or sweeping strings, her wonderful voice always shone through.

It’s Got to Be love is a Rogers & Hart song that is not often heard, but Sarah’s delivery makes it into something special. Just one of those Things brings back the Basie band and they form a stunning combination with the singer, there is a nice tenor solo (Billy Mitchell?). I’ll Never Smile has a backing from a smaller band led by Ernie Wilkins and I Can’t Give You and What Is This Thing, find Sarah singing with a trio at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. She sounds just as good in all these situations and on both tracks demonstrates her ability at ‘scat’ singing. A different trio is used for the New York recording of Words Can’t Describe.

Shiny Stockings is taken as a Latin Number, backed by an Orchestra lead by Frank Foster, the singing on this track is sensational, the diction is perfect, but then everything on this album is first class.

Two of the last three tracks are with Hal Mooney’s all star band that reads like a ‘whose who’ of jazz. Tenderly has the sweeping strings again, but Every Day has the superb Clark Terry Trumpet!

If you are not familiar with the work of Sarah Vaughan this album is a must, I only wish I had all the albums the tracks come from, there is not an inferior track on it. Congratulations to George Evans who made the selection.

Don Mather


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