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Divine Sarah Vaughan: Columbia Years 1949-1953
Sarah Vaughan
Divine Sarah Vaughan: Columbia Years 1949-1953
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #2

These two CDs are not Sarah Vaughan's complete Columbia recordings from 1949 to 1953, when she recorded 60 songs for the label. Rather, this is a genuine "best of" from the label. Weaker pop material is gone, and what rema...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Sarah Vaughan
Title: Divine Sarah Vaughan: Columbia Years 1949-1953
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 11/15/1988
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Vocal Jazz, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 074644416527

These two CDs are not Sarah Vaughan's complete Columbia recordings from 1949 to 1953, when she recorded 60 songs for the label. Rather, this is a genuine "best of" from the label. Weaker pop material is gone, and what remains is largely superior renderings of ballads with Vaughan's rich voice tastefully enhanced by good orchestration. There's a particularly successful session from 1949 with a big band that includes her pianist, Jimmy Jones, and trumpeters Billy Butterfield and Taft Jordan offering dynamic backing on "Summertime" and three other songs. Generally, the material is best when it appeals to Vaughan's strong jazz instincts, including "Black Coffee," "Just Friends," and "Perdido." When strings begin to predominate in the later selections, arranged by Percy Faith, Vaughan still sounds good, but her spark of spontaneity is lost. Divided between the two CDs are eight tunes recorded on May 18-19, 1950, with small jazz groups. They're simply extraordinary, with "Ain't Misbehavin'" among the finest vocal jazz tracks ever recorded, showing how truly majestic Vaughan's talent was. Her voice is allowed to move at faster than ballad speed and the rhythm sections give her room to soar. Mundell Lowe's guitar seems to caress Vaughan's voice, and there are inspired solos and counter lines by Miles Davis, clarinetist Tony Scott, and tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson. --Stuart Broomer

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CD Reviews

Beautiful and Invigorating!
vyrtuelle | Woodruff, SC United States | 04/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the "must haves" of the musical world! Sarah will woo you and make you want to get up and dance, all in this collection! Her enchanting voice has lingered in my mind for ages."
Simply the greatest!
Jeanette J. Shearer | Marblehead, MA United States | 08/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In my humble opinion, Ms. Vaughan's years with Columbia produced some of her best works. It is good fortune that this re-recorded album contains MUCH MORE than the original album, "After Hours", which is where I first heard these tunes. I own that album and it is totally worn out so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be able to get this new one. Don't miss an opportunity to purchase this album!"
Doubly Divine
El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 07/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Simply put, this 2-CD Sarah Vaughan anthology is as close to heaven as you'll ever get without dying first. There are three reigning jazz divas; Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan - Sassy Sarah was easily the most accomplished.

Holiday provides the archetype, both through her tragic life and musical legacy, the velvet tone and idiosyncratic phrasing are unmistakable. Amazingly, Holiday made history with just a one-octave range.

For a big girl, Fitzgerald had a very thin and limited voice, however, she compensated with an effervescent personality, irresistible charm, and off-the-hook scat singing.

Only Vaughan possessed true vocal virtuosity, floating effortlessly from soprano all the way to baritone, teasing the notes to the point of delirium with her gorgeous vibrato.

Like so many others, including James Brown, Sarah Vaughan broke into show business by winning the Amateur Contest at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Only 18 at the time, 1942, within a year she was performing along side Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker - an auspicious beginning to a career spanning decades, almost to her death in 1990.

The quality of her material varied through the years, at times she drifted away from jazz into mundane pop fare featuring arrangements of questionable propriety - but the sheer elegance and beauty of her voice, phrasing, and emotion remained constant. "The Divine One" earned her nickname.

This anthology finds Vaughan at the height of her powers and contains many of the standards associated with her. Far too many standouts to mention, although Black Coffee is unforgettable as are Mean To Me, Come Rain Or Come Shine, and Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year. Everyone can use a little Divine inspiration."