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Sarah Vaughan Volume 2.

Trouble is a Man

Original Recordings 1946-1948

Naxos Jazz Legends, 8.120763

 

 





1. Penthouse Serenade
2. You’re Blasé
3. Everything I Have is Yours
4. Body and Soul
5. I Cover the Waterfront
6. Tenderly
7. Don’t Blame Me
8. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
9. I Can’t Get Started
10. Trouble Is A Man
11. Love Me or Leave Me
12. The Man I Love
13. I Get a Kick out of You
14. The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else
15. It’s You or No One
16. What a Difference a Day Made
17. Once in a While
18. Nature Boy
19. I’m Glad There is You
20. I Feel So Smoochie

Sarah Vaughan: vocals on all tracks

Track 1: Buck Clayton (trumpet); Scoville Brown (clarinet); Don Byas (tenor sax); George James (baritone sax); Teddy Wilson (piano); Remo Palmieri (guitar); Billy Taylor Sr (bass); J.C. Heard (drums)
Track 2: Neal Hefti, Al Porcino, Sonny Rich, George Schwartz (trumpets); Mickey Datz, Gus Dixon, Johnny Mandel (trombones); George Auld (tenor/soprano/alto sax); Al Cohn, Irv Roth (tenor sax); Serge Chaloff (baritone sax); Harvey Leonard (piano); Joe Pilicane (bass); Art Mardigan (drums)
Tracks 3 and 4: George Treadwell (trumpet); Al Gibson (clarinet and alto sax); George ‘Big Nick’ Nicholas (tenor sax); Eddie de Verteuil (baritone and alto sax); Jimmy Jones (piano); Jimmy Smith (guitar); Al McKibbon (bass); William Barker (drums)
Tracks 5-7: George Treadwell, Ermit V. Perry, Roger Jones, Hal Mitchell, Jesse Drakes (trumpets); Ed Burke, Dickie Harris, Donald Cole (trombones); Rupert Cole, Scoville Brown (alto sax); Budd Johnson, Lowell ‘Count’ Hastings (tenor sax); Eddie de Verteuil (baritone sax); Jimmy Jones (piano); Al McKibbon (bass); J.C. Heard (drums)
Tracks 8-10: Unknown strings, flugelhorn, woodwinds, harp, celeste
Tracks 11-14 and 20: Sam Musiker (clarinet); unknown flugelhorn; Nicky Tagg (piano); Tony Mottola, Al Casey (guitars); Mack Shopnick (bass); Cozy Cole (drums); unknown harp, string
Track 15: Unknown strings, woodwinds, flute, harp, piano, bass, drums
Tracks 16 and 17: Jimmy Jones (piano); John Collins (guitar); Al McKibbon (bass); Kenny Clarke (drums)
Tracks 18 and 19: The Earl Rodgers Choir




Few jazz singers begin their career in such spectacular style. By the age of nineteen, Sarah Vaughan was performing with the Earl Hines orchestra, singing and playing second piano alongside the likes of Dizzy Gillespie. In the following year, she took up her role in Billy Eckstine’s big band. And in 1945, she spent a few months with the John Kirby Sextet, before finally launching a solo career that would flourish throughout the next forty four years. Between 14th June 1946 and 8th April 1948, Vaughan recorded thirty three tunes, of which this collection features twenty of the best.

A cursory glance down the album’s track list - ‘I Can’t Get Started’, ‘The Man I Love’, ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’... - suggests there’s going to be little of note here as far as originality is concerned. But, through her unique and distinctive voice, Vaughan transforms the most familiar standard in to a fresh and startling piece. Making full use of her incredible range, she jumps between octaves, slurs through the bass notes, and reinvents those famous melodies, producing results that brim with life, genuine warmth and character. Throughout it all, her control is immense, sailing with ease through difficult key changes, hitting the notes bang in the centre in each ambitious variation.

Singing with various sizes of bands, Vaughan shows herself a versatile performer - and in every case, her support is attuned to her challenging, unpredictable style. Cozy Cole’s double-time drums on ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’, for example, perfectly establish the atmospheric swirl that Vaughan goes on to embellish. In ‘Everything I Have is Yours’, likewise, Jimmy Jones doubles on celeste, helping to create the ethereal mood. And on ‘Love Me or Leave Me’, Sam Musiker’s delightfully resonant clarinet sets the tone for this strange mixture of joyful swing and blues. At no point, though, do the other musicians draw attention away from the star; the magic that shines through every note of Vaughan’s incredible voice is nurtured rather than drowned by the support of these talented individuals.

Trouble is a Man depicts the beginning of a lengthy and consistently productive career that would stretch for many years to come; in 1949, Vaughan switched to Columbia, bringing her one step closer to her rise to international acclaim. But in no way should this collection be seen as a mere introduction to her work - or, worse still, as a time capsule of purely historical interest. Vaughan did not so much progress throughout her recording career, as maintain the breathtaking standard demonstrated in these early works. Few other singers have a led a life so entirely devoted to their craft. And few other singers have left the world with such an incredible gift.

Robert Gibson



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