How is it that a singer who entered the Apollo’s amateur night on a whim went on to become one of the most famous vocalists in jazz history? Perhaps it’s because the 19-year-old happened to be Sarah Vaughan, who possessed one of the most soulful and identifiable voices in jazz. After winning 10 bucks and a weeklong gig with Cootie Williams as her prize, Vaughan went on to fame with Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine and then embarked on a long solo career.
“Sassy” Sarah would have been 78 this year, which is not a nice, round-enough number to warrant a tribute box set, but Mosaic Records has pushed on anyway, releasing the Complete Roulette Sarah Vaughan Studio Sessions. This 8-CD set features the legendary singer in a range of musical settings, and it draws material from 13 albums and seven singles sessions. It also includes four previously unreleased tracks, liner notes from James Gavin, a track-by-track discography and rare photos. Vaughan is showcased singing works by Monk, Ellington, Rodgers and Hart, Gershwin and others, including “‘Round Midnight,” I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” and “Sophisticated Lady.” The original recordings that make up the new box set span the years 1960 to 1963, and include the following:
After Hours – with guitarist Mundell Lowe and bassist George Duvivier
Sarah + 2 – with guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist George Comfort
Sarah Sings Soulfully – a sextet session featuring trumpeter Carmell Jones, tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards and Ernie Freeman on organ
The Divine One – featuring trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison and arrangements by pianist Jimmy Jones
The Count Basie/Sarah Vaughan Sessions – with arrangements by Thad Jones, Frank Foster and Ernie Wilkins, and two duets with Joe Williams
The Explosive Side of Sarah Vaughan – Vaughan with a West Coast big band conducted and arranged by Benny Carter
Lonely Hours – featuring arrangements by Benny Carter for string and brass ensembles, also with Barney Kessel and Jimmy Rowles on piano
You’re Mine You – with arrangements by Quincy Jones
Sweet ‘N’ Sassy – featuring arrangements by Lalo Schifrin
Dreamy – with a 29-piece orchestra arranged and conducted by Jimmy Jones
Snowbound – with winds, strings and rhythm arranged and conducted by Don Costa
Star Eyes – a ballad set arranged and conducted by Marty Manning
Sarah Slightly Classical – Vaughan singing adaptations of works by Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Saint Saens
Singles sessions arranged and conducted by Marty Manning, Joe Reismann and Billy May comprise the remainder of the tracks in the set. Produced by Michael Cuscuna, the Complete Roulette Sarah Vaughan also features mastering and remixing by engineer Malcolm Addey.
All recordings are available solely through Mosaic Records; 35 Melrose Place; Stamford, CT. 06902; (203) 327-7111. Check www.mosaicrecords.com for more information or to place an order.