Sarah Vaughan signed for Columbia in 1949 & her chart successes continued with the charting of "Black Coffee" in the summer of 1949. During her tenure at Columbia through 1953, Vaughan was steered almost exclusively to commercial pop ballads, a number of which had chart success. No matter what she's singing you can't help but notice her amazing control and range. She's able to float effortlessly from the lowest end of the scale to the highest without effort. Her singing is as much second nature as breathing is to most of us. Listen to Vaughan wrap her voice around a word and you begin to understand what is meant by the term phrasing. You also realize why you don't hear the term used very often anymore as very few modern singers have this ability. It refers to a singer's ability to associate the lyrics of a song with the music. However, it means more than just being able to carry a tune. It's how you sing the words and music together. To be fair the music of today doesn't really lend itself to that style of singing either. However hearing a singer of the quality of Vaughan you begin to regret its passing. I'm sure there are jazz singers around who have the ability, but we don't hear them on a regular basis. Of course it's this ability which allowed her to be equally comfortable with any style of music she wished to sing. On this LP we hear her sail through a series of smoothly orchestrated pop tunes. Even the version of Gershwin's "Summertime" is given the uptempo treatment. This might have been a collection of rather commercial standards, but she gives them a soulfulness that raises them above the level of just another pop song. She might not be as emotionally raw as Billie Holliday, but that doesn't stop her from being able to imbue even the simplest of songs with the heart necessary to make them soar.
After Hours With Sarah Vaughan
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