Personnel includes: Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine (vocals); Quincy Jones (arranger, conductor); Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone); Paul Quinichette, Jerome Richardson (tenor saxophone); Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry (trumpet); J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding (trombone); Herbie Mann (flute); Bob James, Jimmy Jones (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Joe Benjamin, Richard Davis (bass); Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes (drums).
Producers include: Quincy Jones, Teddy Reig, Bob Shad.
Compilation producer: Richard Seidel.
Recorded between 1949 & 1967. Includes liner notes by Doug Ramsey.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Sarah Vaughan (vocals); Billy Eckstine (vocals); Jimmy Jones (guitar, piano); Pierre Cullaz, Turk VanLake, Barney Kessel (guitar); Kathyrine Julye (harp); Gerald Vinci, Mischa Russell, Nick Pisani, Henry Hill , Erno Neufeld, Benny Gill, Alex Murray, Marshall Sosson, Israel Baker, Nathan Ross, Harry Bluestone (violin); David Sterkin, Paul Robyn, Milton Thomas (viola); Cy Bernard, Edgar Lustgarten, Ray Kramer (cello); Joe Lipman, Quincy Jones (strings); Bernard Kaufman, Nuncio "Toots" Mondello (flute, clarinet); Jerome Richardson (flute, tenor saxophone); Herbie Mann (flute); Art Drelinger (clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Phil Woods, Benny Golson (reeds); Ronnie Lang (woodwinds, alto saxophone); Ted Nash (woodwinds, tenor saxophone); Champ Webb, Harry Klee (woodwinds); Jo Hrasko, Marcel Hrasko, William Boucaya, Zoot Sims (saxophone); Sam Marowitz, Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone); Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone); Clark Terry, Clifford Brown , Ernie Royal, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Newman , Bernie Glow, Charlie Shavers (trumpet); James A. Decker (French horn); Milt Bernhart, George Roberts , George Martimore Roberts, J.J. Johnson , Eddie Kusby, J. Alan Johnson , Joe Howard, Kai Winding (trombone); Bob James & Creations, Ronald Bright, Ronnell Bright, George Greeley, Bob James, John Malachi (piano); Michael A. Hauser (vibraphone); Louis Singer, Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes, Norris "Bunny" Shawker (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Shohji Ichikawa; Doug Ramsey.
Recording information: Hollywood, CA (12/22/1949-01/24/1967); Los Angeles, CA (12/22/1949-01/24/1967); New York, NY (12/22/1949-01/24/1967); Paris, France (12/22/1949-01/24/1967).
Photographers: Carole Reiff; Chuck Stewart.
Arrangers: Bob James & Creations; Ernie Wilkins; Joe Lipman; Hal Mooney; Quincy Jones; Bob James.
This joint venture between Blue Note and Verve captures the sweet and sassy sounds of Sarah Vaughan at her best as recorded by Emarcy, Mercury, and Roulette. The 16-song compilation is arranged chronologically and kicks off with a duet between Vaughan and the man who discovered her, Billy Eckstine, recorded in 1949 before moving to her mid-'50s recordings for Mercury and Emarcy. She was equally at home recording with large orchestras, small jazz ensembles, or piano, bass, and drums. Highlights from this period include her wonderfully swinging album Swingin' Easy, which she recorded with her trio of John Malachi on piano, Crazy Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. The track "Shulie a Bop" is taken from this album and features a great scat solo. At the same time she was cutting some swinging jazz sides with big-name players like Clifford Brown, she was recording string-filled ballads with orchestral backing like "Tenderly," which was cut in 1954 with Hugo Peritti's orchestra. She would continue this approach all throughout her career, and this CD does a good job of showing both sides of Vaughan. Other highlights from the compilation include a desperately romantic version of "Lush Life" cut in 1956 with Hal Mooney's orchestra, a near operatic rendition of "My Man's Gone Now" from 1957 that shows off Vaughan's powerful vibrato, and a laid-back and swinging take on "The Sweetest Sounds" from 1967 backed by the incredible brass section of Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Charlie Shavers, and Joe Newman. The Definitive Sarah Vaughan has a couple of non-fatal flaws: there are only two songs from her five-year tenure at Roulette and an over-reliance on the orchestral ballads. Throw in a couple more swinging tracks and the discs would be really special, but it is still a nice overview and is recommended to anyone who wants to check out the early work of the divine Sarah Vaughan. ~ Tim Sendra