"Those who throughout the years have denied Sarah the cachet of a true jazz singer are in for a surprise with this cd. Those who many, many times have said that Sarah couldn't interpret lyrics are also in for a surprise. Daring, startling, innovative, creative, are just a few of the words that come to mind when one thinks of the risk it represents for a jazz singer to do an album with bass and electric guitar only,like in this case. However, the format works wonders by giving her a minimal support that allows to showcase her fireworks. You'll apply the above adjectives as well when you hear Sarah's rhythmic and melodic inventions, always in perfect time, always within the harmony but at the same time revealing hidden corners of it, always adding an unsuspected hue to the song. Her Just in Time is anthological, just like that incredible When Sunny Gets Blue. You won't find, and I mean this, a better lyrics readings and a better musical approach for these two songs. As good as, maybe, but not better, I swear. The same happens with more or less the rest of the tracks. Each of them has a special something that keeps the listener on his toes. Being an inveterate Sarah admirer, but very much aware of her ugly excesses in certain years in her career, I hereby recommend this album. You won't be sorry because you'll agree with me."
Quite a CD
T. Hanson | Seattle, WA | 01/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was such a happy surprise. Sarah, Barney Kessel and Joe Comfort. This is Sarah at the peak of her career and voice, singing jazz tunes with sensitive accompaniment. I get a little misty every time I listen to this and "Crazy and Mixed Up," done a decade later."
Sarah "sings naked."
Mary Whipple | New England | 06/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before she recorded this album in 1962, Sarah Vaughan was told by Roulette Records producer Teddy Reig, that he wanted her to "sing naked" on this one. He wanted a recording which would capture her voice in all its splendor, not something in which the orchestra and big accompaniment competed with her voice. The resulting album, recorded with only a bass (Joe Comfort) and guitar (Barney Kessel), sounds as if Sarah Vaughan is standing in front of you in your own home. It may be her most intimate album, one in which she creates and sustains the mood of sexy confidentiality, revealing deep feelings of love, and creating the impression of whispering in your ear, even when she is singing in full voice.
Mostly standards in which Vaughan's phrasing gives new meanings to the lyrics, the CD is a thrilling opportunity to study Vaughan's rich voice. The bass and the guitar are barely there, adding just enough beat to keep the songs interesting and just enough musical variation to suggest new harmonies. The songs, almost entirely slow ballads, are clearly in Vaughan's style, though they lack the flights of jazzy innovation and improvisation for which she was famous in her later career. Instead, she sings "pure," keeping the attention focused on the lyrics and the story within them.
Among the highlights here are "Key Largo," a song of emptiness in which Vaughan has only her dreams for company. In "Just Squeeze Me," she is flirty and sexy, responding to a good beat with a few variations from the score. "All or Nothing at All," tells of a woman who wants it all, a gorgeous rendering in which she holds her notes for long measures. "The Very Thought of You" caps off the CD, a song in which she takes a few more liberties with the melody and interpretation and leaves you with a glorious memory and, maybe, a sigh. All in all, this is an unforgettable CD which shows off Vaughan's voice at its peak and creates a mood of love, a CD for those quieter moments in which Vaughan's more customary pyrotechnics might prove to be a distraction. n Mary Whipple n Mary Whipple "
Sarah's big voice in a small setting...
M. Johnston | Mighty Midwest | 12/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I first heard about Sarah + 2, I was eager to hear it but disappointed that it was never released on C.D. I couldn't even find a copy of the original L.P. Then, about five years ago, I found out that you could get it by ordering the "Complete Roulette Recordings" boxed set issued by Blue Note's Mosaic label. Sarah + 2 is one of several albums contained in the set. Now that Sarah + 2 is finally out on its own, you can get it without some of the hit or miss offerings that fill the rest of her Roulette catalogue. That said, I still think that After Hours, her first recording to feature the same "bass and guitar only" accompaniment - was superior. Although it was a studio recording, After Hours was recorded late into the night in front of a private audience of some of Ms. Vaughan's closest friends in New York - which seems to capture a certain wistful subtlety that hits where Sarah + 2 misses. Sarah + 2 was recorded a couple of years later in a larger L.A. studio that had better sound quality, but a different mood. Don't get me wrong - I can't take anything away from the performance or musicianship of Sarah + 2. It simply captures a different feel than its predecessor did. Either way, Sarah + 2 is still a must have for any fan of Sarah who prefers hearing her without the lush, orchestral backdrop that dominated many of her commercial recordings of that era. Some of Sarah's other stand out small group recordings include "Sarah Vaughan and Clifford Brown" and "Swingin Easy" -both of which were recorded for Mercury's Emarcy label in the 50's.
For those of you who enjoy other fine Jazz vocalists in a minimal setting, Ella Fitzgerald's "The Intimate Ella" featuring Ella's voice backed by no more than Paul Smiths lovely piano, is also a gem. "