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50 YEARS

JazzTimes 10: Classic Vocal Jazz Duets

When one plus one equals a sound that's unquantifiable


Billy Eckstine & Sarah Vaughan: “You’re Just in Love”
From Sing the Best of Irving Berlin (Mercury, 1957; reissued as The Irving Berlin Songbook by EmArcy, 1991)
No doubt spurred by Ella and Louis’ success, Mercury opted to team its marquee jazz vocalists, Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine, for—taking another cue from Verve, in this case Ella’s landmark Songbook series—11 Irving Berlin gems. That Vaughan and Eckstine, long-time friends and collaborators, are as warmly, chummily simpatico as their Verve counterparts is evident throughout. “You’re Just in Love” stands out because of its intricately choreographed, overlapping interplay (it was actually written as a duet, for Call Me Madam). Appreciating Eckstine and Vaughan’s equally massive power, Hal Mooney shaped a bold, meaty arrangement, loaded with brass, pushing them to ecstatic heights.

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Originally Published