Sarah Vaughan had already mastered the roots of gospel music and the intricacies of bop when her overarching talents led her to be packaged as a pop-singing canary. Fortunately her work with EmArcy allowed for some straigh... more »t-ahead, unadorned jazz performance, where Vaughan's talent could shine without the frills. On Swingin' Easy, Vaughan is backed by a pair of trios, both featuring the great drummer Roy Haynes, whose supple rhythms give Vaughan's voice the context it deserves. "Shulie a Bop," "Lover Man," "All of Me," "Body and Soul" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me" are masterful performances. --John Swenson« less
Sarah Vaughan had already mastered the roots of gospel music and the intricacies of bop when her overarching talents led her to be packaged as a pop-singing canary. Fortunately her work with EmArcy allowed for some straight-ahead, unadorned jazz performance, where Vaughan's talent could shine without the frills. On Swingin' Easy, Vaughan is backed by a pair of trios, both featuring the great drummer Roy Haynes, whose supple rhythms give Vaughan's voice the context it deserves. "Shulie a Bop," "Lover Man," "All of Me," "Body and Soul" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me" are masterful performances. --John Swenson
Victoria G. from SAN ANSELMO, CA Reviewed on 10/30/2009...
One of her best
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First and foremost
Jon Warshawsky | San Diego, CA USA | 04/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A renowned album by one of the greatest voices in jazz, Swingin' Easy features a program of first-rate songs, a trio and Sarah Vaughan at or near her prime. 'Lover Man' and 'All of Me' by themselves are startlingly good -- the singer covers impressive ranges, navigating with comfortable transitions and natural timing. Even the somewhat dated 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams', famous as a Sinatra/Tommy Dorsey number from the early 1940s, is something special on this recording. 'Shulie a Bop' finds the singer bouncing through scat solos in complete command -- a vocal tour de force and a breathtaking highlight. The minimal and tasteful backing of Malachi, Benjamin and Haynes accentuates the drama.Swingin' Easy is one of those rare albums that doesn't come with any weak spots, making it an easy choice if you are new to Sarah Vaughan's music. The song selection and unparalleled interpretations make this one something special."
Only she could make it look easy.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 02/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For me, this session ranks with "Sarah Vaughan/Clifford Brown" and "Live at Mr. Kelly's" as Sarah's most satisfying recorded work. The rhythm section format not only allows her more freedom than do the heavily orchestrated dates from this period but encourages her to conceive of her role as jazz instrumentalist rather than coloratura diva. Moreover, her voice was never better--silky yet vibrant, seamlessly continuous in all registers and devoid of any hint of wobble. On ballads like "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" Sarah is the song's best friend, bringing all of its melodic-lyric charms to life and requiring no more than a single pass to do so. Perhaps no further example is needed to demonstrate Sarah's mastery than "They Can't Take That Away from Me," when she not only recites but illustrates the words "off key" through her own playful intonation. And only Sarah could take ephemeral "riff" material like "You Hit the Spot" and make it sound worthy of inclusion in the Great American Songbook. But the sleeper on the program is "Words Can't Describe," an obscure song that, on the basis of Sarah's reading, should be a staple in the American Songbook.The accompaniment is provided by two highly supportive, empathetic trios. To my ears, the walking bass lines of Joe Benjamin swing more than those provided by Richard Davis. Roy Haynes is the constant on all of the tracks, so the slightly different feel of the rhythm can't be attributed to the drummer.I see that it's been 12 years since this CD was issued. It would be a pity if a singular session such as this were consigned to more of the "Best Of" or "Greatest Hits" anthologies that have caused us to lose sight of influential artists' most seminal projects."
A Must Have Album
Brett Beckman | Terre Haute, IN | 05/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am new to Jazz and got this album on recommendation from the Rough Guide (which I also recommend). It was the first time I appreciated the human voice as an instrument. Her range and abilty to turn a phrase is phenomenal. The trio lets her take center stage. I have not enjoyed her other albums with orchestral backup (strings) as much because I find it distracting from her voice. I have given this album to others who have enjoyed it almost as much as I have. I'm glad to see this on Amazon's essential vocal recordings list. I hope you take a chance with this one as I did. You will not regret it!"
A Sarah Masterpiece
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | 11/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This began as a 10-inch Sarah Vaughan LP on Mercury which, as I remember, was titled "Contrasts." Eight songs. When 12-inch LPs came along, four more songs were recorded and it all became "Swingin' Easy." The original cover was a garish painting, the new cover a very hip photo of a very hip Sarah relaxing in a very hip chair. The album is also very hip. Relaxed, inspired jazz, endlessly listenable, still fresh after nearly a half-century. She never topped "Shulie-a-Bop" but everything on this album is super."
"Who won't go mad listening to Sarah's singing on "shulie a bop" ?
Everybody reminds of the way she introduces the musicians with her highly erotic voice : "John Malachi","crazy Joe Benjamin","Roy...Haynes!".Roy Haynes.One of the last great jazz drummers still alive.He plays brushes like mad in this record.
What more can I say about the music? Just look at the tunes: some of the most difficult to sing,like "lover man","body and soul",Duke Ellington's "prelude to a kiss" or "all of me",which belongs to Billie and Lester since that day of March 1941.Sassie sings great versions of "I cried for you" (another Billie's tune),"if I knew then" or Frank Sinatra's "polka dots and moonbeams".But for me,"shulie a bop" is the masterpiece of the session,a pure bop tune,which could have been written by Bird, with definitive drumming by Mr Haynes,and highly provocative scat singing by Ms Vaughan. A major record."