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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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A Time in My Life

Boplicity CDBOPM 031



1. Imagine

2. On Thinking It Over

3. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

4. Sweet Gingerbread Man

5. Magical Connection

6. That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard it Should Be

7. Tomorrow City

8. Universal Prisoner

9. Trouble

10. If Not For You

Buddy Childers, Al Aaron, Gene Goe – Trumpets

Jerome Richardson, Bill Green, Jackie Kelso – Saxes

George Bohanon, Benny Powell – Trombones

Earl Palmer – Drums

Alan Estes, Jimmy Cobb - Percussion

Joe Pass, Al Vescovo – Guitars

Willy Mays – Piano

Bob Magnusson – Bass

Ernie Wilkins – Arranger, conductor

The 1970s were a difficult time for jazz. Rock music was all the rage, while the only form of jazz that got a look-in was jazz-rock. Sarah Vaughan was able to record this album thanks to producer Bob Shad, a jazz fan who had made lots of money from rock music. Sadly, the album sank almost without trace but here it is, released by the Boplicity label.

It might have looked like one of those albums where a jazz musician is put into an unsuitable rock-music context, but just look at the accompanying personnel! With such famous jazzers as Joe Pass, Jerome Richardson, Earl Palmer and George Bohanon, it escapes being one of those cases where a jazz singer sells out in the hope of appealing to a rock audience. Certainly the songs are mostly rock and pop originals rather than jazz standards, and the band treats them mainly in rock or jazz-rock mode. But the arrangements are by the experienced jazz musician Ernie Wilkins. And a singer like the divine Sarah Vaughan can turn dross into gold.

John Lennon’s Imagine is not dross and Sarah caresses it lovingly. She brings a feeling of soul to Inner City Blues, and Sweet Gingerbread Man has a jaunty beat. John Sebastian’s Magical Connection is lifted by an uncredited flautist (probably Jerome Richardson). Tomorrow City includes a fine guitar solo, possibly by Joe Pass. And Vaughan really lets herself go on Bob Dylan’s If Not For You.

The main drawback with the album is its short running time: about 37 minutes. It is not one of Sarah Vaughan’s greatest albums but it is worth considering, as Sarah never made a bad album in her life.

Tony Augarde

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