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


Early Recordings 1944-1947

Sarah Vaughan with the Orchestras of Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, John Kirby, George Treadwell, Georgie Auld and Dickie Wells. Featuring various artists including Charlie Parker, Don Byas, Charlie Ventura, Flip Phillips, Buck Clayton and Teddy Wilson.
Recorded December 1944- December 1947. No location given.

1. Mean To Me
2. Interlude
3. No Smokes
4. What More Can A Woman
5. East Of The Sun
6. Lover Man
7. Signing Off
8. I'll Wait And Pray
9. You Go To My Head
10. I'm Scared
11. I Could Make You Love Me
12. It Might As Well Be Spring
13. I'm Through With Love
14. September Song
15. Don't Worry 'Bout Me
16. Gentleman Friend
17. We're Through
18. A Hundred Years From Today

Sarah Vaughan ( 1924 - 1990 ) was undoubtedly one of the greatest singers in the history of jazz. Her outstanding vocal abilities - vast range, excellent sense of pitch and flawless intonation, clear articulation and a wonderful feeling for nuances of tone and dynamics - place her in the category of a great singer, whatever one's taste in music might be. She is, in my opinion, a musician's musician in much the same way as Tony Bennett is amongst male vocalists.

This release, as indicated in the title, is comprised of early performances recorded from 1944 to 1947. These tracks are doubly significant in that they cover the early years of Be-Bop and feature some of the bands and many of the players associated with popularisation and development of that style. There are also examples of Sarah Vaughan performing with more mainstream ensembles ( John Kirby, Dicky Wells, Teddy Wilson ). However, the musicians in these groups must be considered to be the cream of their particular style and many of them played a major part in influencing the more modern players. What is fascinating is the ease with which Sassy adapts herself to these varied groups - she is able to sound completely at home without compromising her already personalised delivery.

The selection of songs on this album is a real mixture of well and lesser - known material. "Interlude" is in actuality a vocal version of "A Night In Tunisia". I particularly enjoyed " Lover Man" ( complete with Charlie Parker ), "I'll Wait And Pray" ( A Tune later played beautifully by John Coltrane on "Coltrane Jazz"), "You Go To My Head" and "It Might As Well Be Spring" ( this could have been written for Vaughan's unique vocal talents ).

Throughout the disc there are solo gems from some of the most outstanding players from that era including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Flip Phillips and Charlie Ventura, to select just a few. The liner note is most informative and the transfer and "cleaning up" of the sound is first class. This is amongst the best discs in this series that I have heard so far.

Dick Stafford

D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.


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