This Roulette Records' 1961 Birdland Series LP of Sarah Vaughan's After Hours was the first ever album by 'Sassy' to feature just her voice with bass (George Duvivier) and guitar (Mundell Lowe) in a program of mostly ballads, with Miss Vaughan crooning quietly in a rarely used style. Her voice is at its peak on these intimate, relaxed, almost spontaneous sessions. A true jazz classic of considerable beauty, with George and Mundell perfectly complementing 'the Divine Sarah' as she runs through a set of carefully chosen (yet unrehearsed) favorites, all songs one might've heard her perform in a smoky club well "After Hours". Just one gorgeous track after another here. On "Wonder Why" Vaughan plumbs the depths of her vocal range. "Easy To Love" features an outstanding walking bass line. They swing it so well, Sarah is moved to finger-snap. Her exquisite enunciation and vocal sliding are most noticeable on a mellow cover of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady". The LP's most energetic song, "Great Day" again spotlights George's amazing bass work. A mere fragment, it fades out much too soon. On an impressive "Sentimental Mood", Sassy utilizes sharp, flat and quarter tones, and a few notes perhaps never heard before. The facáde of aloofness that shields a broken heart in "Vanity" makes for a melancholy, yet apropos, set closer. Annie Van Auken
Sarah Vaughan: After Hours
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